What's the benefit of Adderall for NFL players?

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What's the benefit of Adderall for NFL players?

FOXBORO -- Posted outside the entrance to the Patriots training room is a sign that warns NFL players about supplements and medications. The small poster implores players to call an NFLPA hotline if they have any questions on whether a substance is OK to ingest or not. And the phone number is right there.

Monday, after news that Jermaine Cunningham was given a four-game suspension broke, I decided to dial the number on the bottom of the poster to see just how hard it is on NFL players to get the counsel they need.

June' Rogers, the Director of Drug Programs and Policies, answered on the second ring.

We didn't speak about any case in particular. Mostly, we discussed the prescription drug Adderall, an Attention Deficit Disorder medication that player after player cites for being the cause of testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

One of the first things Rogers noted was that no player tests positive for Adderall. What the player specifically took is not definable. In the case of Adderall use, a player would test positive for amphetamines.

What's the benefit of Adderall? Rogers said it enhances focus. And it gives a player a little zip (my word, not hers) after he takes it. It's an upper.

Speaking to another source in the medical field, I was told Adderall has limited benefits for NFL players aside from meeting room focus and staying awake (it's also used to combat narcolepsy).

If NFL players were playing multiple games in a week and crossing time zones like professional baseball players do, taking Adderall would make sense since it battles fatigue. But that isn't generally the case.

It's worth noting that the NFL does not cite the performance enhancing substance found in a player's system when a positive result and suspension come down. As a result, blaming Adderall -- a drug that treats a very common condition in our society -- means a player isn't stigmatized as he would be if he tested positive for testosterone, something which physically imbalances the playing field as opposed to giving a mental "edge." So players who cite Adderall as the reason they get suspended deal with the presumption that they probably are just using Adderall as an excuse instead of coming clean.

Either way, the NFL and NFLPA have taken significant steps to keep players and their agents informed on Adderall. Monday night, Rogers emailed me a Frequently Asked Questions handout on Adderall that the NFLPA has made available.

Have a look:

In what ways are players informed ofthe NFL's banned substances?

The Player Policies handbook, which is distributed annually to all players, includes complete copies of both the Performance Enhancing Substances Policy and the Substances of Abuse Policy. Both policies identify the substances that are prohibited and for which players are tested under the respective policies. Additionally, the prohibited performance enhancing substances list is posted on the NFLPAs website; it is also provided at team meetings and at the Combine. The NFLPAs Player Planner App also includes the prohibited list, allowing players to access the information from their smartphones andor tablet devices.

Has there been an attempt to educate players in alternative ways?

NFLPA Tweet of the week
Once a week players following @NFLPA receive a message regarding some aspect of our drug polices as well as information on products that may pose a risk to players health and safety.

Dont Take - Poster campaign
This poster was designed by the NFLPA to emphasize the consequences of taking ANY substance before discussing with a knowledgeable individual. These posters have been sent to all teams to be posted in locker rooms.

Talking Points Pilot
This grassroots approach is designed to ensure that the people who comprise a player's"circle of influence" are also educated on the drug policies. These documents are sent to agents, the NFLPA player reps for every team, and player engagement professionals to better equip them with knowledge regarding the professional, financial, health and legal risks associated with violating the drug policies.

The NFLPA is committed to educating EVERY player about the NFLNFLPA's drug policies. The union continues to create new opportunities for players to gain access to this information and educate them on the impact these policies can have on their lives and careers.

Is thereshould there be a focus on common prescription drugs like Adderall?
Our focus is on player health and safety. We are committed to ensuring that our players are fully aware of the potential health, professional and personal consequences associated with violating the NFLNFLPAs drug policies. This focus is and will be the same for all education efforts around the NFLs drug policies.

When didAdderall become a banned substance?
Amphetamines have been banned since 1995 under the NFLNFLPAs Policy and Programs on Substances of Abuse. Amphetamines such as Adderall have been prohibited under the NFLNFLPAs Policy on Anabolic Steroid and Related Substance Policy since 2006.

What is the process to obtain a T.U.E.?
Players need to submit a T.U.E. application to the Independent Administrator of the NFL Policy on Steroids and Related Substances PRIOR to the initiation of treatment. The Independent Administrator sends the T.U.E. to selected specialists who review the application and determine rather or not a TUE should be granted. This determination is based on the criteria set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV ).

What are the accepted medical reasons for a player to obtain a T.U.E. forAdderall?
Adderall is approved by the FDA for the treatment of ADDADHD and narcolepsy. Treatment for those disorders provide the only bases upon which a player may be granted a T.U.E. for Adderall.

How often does a player need to update the paperworkre-apply for a T.U.E.?
T.U.E.s are reviewed annually. A full re-evaluation must be done every three years.

Has there been an increase in number of T.U.E. applications and grantsfor Adderall in recent years?
The NFLPA does not release information about T.U.E. applications or the statuses of these applications. However, increased diagnoses of ADDADHD in the general public have led to a corresponding increase in prescriptions for medications to treat these disorders.

Do players need to get the Adderall from the team or can it come from an outside doctor if there is a T.U.E.?
Prescriptions for Adderall can be written by any licensed physician; however, to be granted a T.U.E. under the NFLNFLPA policies, a formal evaluation must have been performed in the last 3 years by a psychiatrist and other physicians who specializes in the treatment of ADDADHD or a knowledgeable physician working with a psychologist in the ADDADHD area.

Jun Rogers
Director of Drug Programs and Policies
Player Affairs & Development

Anthony: Despite trade whispers, 'I'm committed' to staying with Knicks

Anthony: Despite trade whispers, 'I'm committed' to staying with Knicks

BOSTON -- When most of Carmelo Anthony’s elite NBA brethren were looking for max-money deals with the flexibility to bounce to another team from one year to the next, the perennial All-Star signed a five-year, $124 million deal in 2014, which was one of the many ways he showed that he’s all-in on being a New York Knick. 
 
And as the Knicks continue to drop one game after another, 'Melo once again finds himself having to answer questions as to whether he wants to be in New York for the long haul. 
 
He acknowledged prior to tonight’s game against the Boston Celtics that he recently met with Phil Jackson, New York’s president of basketball operations. He declined to talk specifics about the meeting, but he was asked whether he felt a need to reiterate his commitment to a Knicks team that finds itself -- for now at least -- on the outside of the playoff picture. 
 
”I think it was just a . . . yeah, I mean, I'm committed,” he said after the team’s shootaround this morning prior to tonight's Celtics-Knicks game. “I don't have to prove that to anybody. I don't think I have to prove that to anybody. I don’t think I have to keep saying that. I don't think I have to keep talking about that. I know for a fact people know that; people see that. And right now my focus is on playing ball and staying with these guys. Because a lot of these guys have never dealt with all of this stuff before. Especially being in a market like New York and dealing with the articles and everybody has a different opinion on different situations. So a lot of these guys have never dealt with that. So for me it's just, it's all about being there. Moreso than ever right now during this time for them.”
  
Since he arrived via (forced) traded from Denver, 'Melo has seen his share of ups and downs in New York -- probably more downs in terms of the team’s success.
 
But even with that familiarity, Anthony acknowledged that this season’s problems do have a different feel than previous ones. 
 
“I've had this a couple times over the past couple seasons so I kinda know what this feeling is like,” Anthony said. “I think now it's a little bit different being the fact that the guys we have on this team, the talent level that's on this team, and for us to still kinda be losing these games, close games, non-close games . . . that's a different feeling.”
 
New York traded for Derrick Rose, a former league MVP, and signed Joakim Noah via free agency. 
 
With those former Bulls, coupled with Anthony and an emerging star in Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks were expected to provide a nucleus for success that would position them to be a playoff contender. The season is still young, but they've have been one of the bigger disappointments in the NBA this season. 
 
After a 16-13 start, their slide began with a Christmas Day loss to Boston that put them in a tailspin that they’re still trying to play their way out of. They come into tonight’s game having lost 11 of their last 13 games and sit six games below .500 at 18-24.
 
And as far as Anthony's future with the Knicks, if he leaves it will be his decision. 
 
But he's maintained -- throughout the peaks and valleys in his time with the Knicks -- that he has no desire to play for any other franchise, which is why the no-trade he has is so important. 
 
Simply put, he ain’t leaving New York unless he wants to. 
 
“I think as players you always want to protect yourself,” Anthony said. “I didn't think it would get to this point, but I think as a player if you can get that (no-trade clause), you have a right to protect yourself and take care of yourself when it comes to that. It's very hard to get . . . So, I have it and that's that.”

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
 
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
 
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
 
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake