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

Ainge: Tatum was always the Celtics' top choice

Ainge: Tatum was always the Celtics' top choice

BOSTON --  For the past couple of years, Jayson Tatum has been a big-time talent.
 
As a high schooler, he was among the nation’s best. In his lone season at Duke, the 29-year-old established himself as one of college basketball’s top players.
 
And just like that, he’s off to the latest and greatest basketball challenge of them all -- the NBA, after the Boston Celtics selected him with the third overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft.
 
The Celtics had the top overall pick, but traded it to Philadelphia for the No. 3 selection and a future first-round pick.
 
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, made it clear that had they not struck a deal to move down a couple spots, they would have selected Tatum with the number one overall pick.

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“It was a great compliment,” Tatum said via conference call after the draft. “I’m excited Danny Ainge thinks that highly of me.”
 
Said Ainge: “We like his size, length, shooting, intelligence, character. There’s a lot to like about Jayson. He’s going to be a terrific player.”
 
Coach Brad Stevens echoed similar sentiments.
 
“He’s a really skilled player, really talented scorer,” Stevens said. “Great kid, great work ethic. We’re excited to have him aboard.”
 
And Tatum comes in having been told lots of positives about Brad Stevens from his college coach, Mike Krzyzewski.
 
“He had nothing but great things to say about [Stevens],” Tatum said. “I got that impression when I met him for the first time.”
 
During his visit with the Celtics, Tatum said he watched film of Boston’s offense with Stevens in addition to some film of when he played at Duke.
 
Tatum understands there will be a learning curve of sorts when it comes into the NBA.
 
But his growth must also come about physically, too.
 
He arrived at Duke weighing less than 200 pounds, but the 6-foot-8 wing player has gained about 10 pounds since then.
 
Aware that he needs to add additional weight, Tatum isn’t overly concerned about that right now.
 
“I’m just 19,” he said. “So I’m pretty sure my body’s going to continue to fill out and see where I get; a comfortable playing weight.”
 
He has identified three areas of his game that need to be strengthened at the next level: Consistency on defense, getting stronger and consistency shooting the ball.
 
And as a Celtic, Tatum has quickly picked up on one of the seldom-talked about but vital aspects of being a Celtic: A disdain for the Los Angeles Lakers.
 
That might be a little tricky at first for Tatum, who grew up a Kobe Bryant fan.
 
“It makes it easier that Kobe doesn’t play anymore,” Tatum said. “Kobe was always my favorite player. I guess I just rooted for them because he was on there.

"But I’m a Celtics fan now.”

Bulls trade Butler to Timberwolves in blockbuster draft-night deal

Bulls trade Butler to Timberwolves in blockbuster draft-night deal

MINNEAPOLIS -- Ever since Tom Thibodeau took over in Minnesota last summer, a reunion with Chicago Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler seemed destined to happen.

For the coach that desperately wanted a defensive-minded veteran to set the tone for a talented young roster, and for the player who only truly realized what he had in that hard-driving leader after he was gone.

"It's been something that over a prolonged period of time there have been different moments where he's had to consider it and think about it," Butler's agent, Bernie Lee, told The Associated Press. "In some ways it feels like it was spoken into reality."

In the blockbuster move of draft night, the Bulls traded Butler and the 16th overall pick Thursday night to the Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 overall pick as the Wolves try to finally put an end to a 13-year playoff drought.

The trade brings together Butler and Wolves coach and president Thibodeau, who coached the Bulls for five seasons before being fired in 2015. Thibodeau helped Butler become an All-NBA performer and earn a $95 million contract and Butler helped Thibodeau instill the brass-knuckle mentality into those Bulls teams.

"The longer you are with somebody, the more deposits you have with each other, the trust is there," Thibodeau said. "You're not afraid to tell them the truth. So I think I know him well. I know the things that are important to him. I know he wants to win. And he wants to win big."

Now they're together again, trying to lead a franchise that has not made the playoffs since 2004.

"It's one of those moments where the excitement of tonight has to carry forward to the work that has to come," Lee said. "And if it does, it will really be a beautiful thing to see."

The Wolves paid a big price: Besides surrendering the lottery pick, they gave up a rising star in LaVine, who is coming off of a torn ACL and Dunn, last year's No. 5 overall pick. They were among the youngest teams in the league last season, cast as a team that could be a force once all of their pups grew up.

After a disappointing first season overseeing the operation, Thibodeau grabbed a fully grown pit bull to toughen the team up.

Butler played for Thibodeau for four seasons in Chicago, developing from an unheralded, late-first round draft pick into a perennial All-Star. The two strong-willed workaholics clashed on occasion during their time together and Butler said during the Olympics in Rio last summer that it was "love-hate" relationship.

But he also acknowledged that his appreciation for Thibodeau's hard-driving style increased as time went on, especially when the Bulls struggled in their first season under the more player-friendly Fred Hoiberg.

"They've come by their relationship honestly," Lee said. "They worked through a period to where they really came to learn what the other is about. ... They have a basis to work from, but things have changed and they've changed and adapted. They will take the starting point that they have, but they have to build on it."

The Wolves drafted Arizona sharpshooter Lauri Markkanen for the Bulls at No. 7 and the Bulls took Creighton forward Justin Patton at No. 16 for the Wolves. Patton is a 6-foot-11 forward who was the Big East freshman of the year after averaging 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds last season.

When Thibodeau was hired as team president and coach last summer, he quickly set his sights on bringing Butler to Minnesota. The two sides engaged on serious discussions on draft night last year, but couldn't close it.

LaVine was having a breakout third season in the league when he tore the ACL in his left knee in February. His rehabilitation has gone well, but the injury certainly complicated the Wolves' re-engaging Chicago on Butler. Adding to the difficulty was Dunn's underwhelming first year in Minnesota, which diminished his trade value.

With all that in play, the Wolves were forced to also offer up the No. 7 pick this season to push the deal over the top. But they did receive Chicago's first-round pick in return. The move, and the package they assembled to make it, signal an organization that is desperate to start winning.

Butler averaged career highs in points (23.9), rebounds (6.2) and assists (5.5) in his sixth season. He is also one of the league's top defenders, an absolute necessity for a young team that finished 26th in the league in defensive efficiency last season. He will turn 28 in September, right in the middle of his prime for a team in need of veteran leadership.

"The most important thing to me are the things he does every day, the way he practices, the things that he does in meetings, the way he prepares before a game, the things that he does for recovery," Thibodeau said. "He'll show our players a lot of the things that he's learned along the way."

The move also represents the first significant steps toward an overhaul for the Bulls. Despite a spirited effort, the Bulls were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Wade opted in for the final year of his contract, but that isn't stopping Chicago from pivoting to a new, younger nucleus that includes LaVine, Dunn, Markkanen and Denzel Valentine.

Now that Butler is gone, the 35-year-old Wade could become a buyout candidate as the Bulls go into rebuilding mode.