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

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – For most of his life, basketball has come easy to James Young.
 
So, the idea that in training camp he wasn’t just fighting to get playing time but also to stay in the NBA, was a jarring eye-opener.
 
To Young’s credit, he rose to the challenge and beat out R.J. Hunter for the Celtics' final roster spot.
 
And while Young’s playing time has been sporadic, he has done a much better job of maximizing his opportunities.
 
So, as the Celtics roll into Detroit to face the Pistons, Young finds himself playing his best basketball as a pro, good enough to make coach Brad Stevens not hesitate to put him in the game in the fourth quarter of a close matchup.
 
“It’s exciting to come back home,” Young, who grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., told CSNNE.com. “A lot of my family will be there. I’m not thinking about me. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team.”
 
And lately, he’s getting an opportunity to do just that beyond being someone who helps in practice.
 
We saw that in the 107-97 loss at Toronto on Friday. Young came off the bench to play four minutes, 36 seconds in the fourth quarter with only two other Celtics reserves, Marcus Smart (8:39) and Jonas Jerebko (5:10) seeing more action down the stretch.
 
“It means a lot,” Young said. “He’s starting to trust me a little bit more. That’s a good thing. I’m just trying to do little things; rebound, get defensive stops and score when I get a chance.”
 
The fact that his scoring is just starting to take shape helps shed some light on why he has been buried so deep on the Celtics bench.
 
For his first couple seasons, Young seemed a hesitant shooter physically overwhelmed by opponents too strong for him to defend as well as too physical for him to limit their effectiveness.
 
But this season, he has done a better job at holding his own as a defender while making himself an available scoring option who can play off his teammates.
 
Young is averaging just 2.9 points per game this season, but he’s shooting a career-high 48.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on 3’s, which is also a career-high.
 
Getting on the floor more often has in many ways provided yet another boost of confidence to Young.
 
“I’m getting used to the flow of the game playing more consistently,” Young said. “I know what to do. It’s slowing up a little more and it’s getting easier.”
 

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lada Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lada Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."