"Stimulants" in MLB- Should We Care?

Remember not too long ago when MLB was "cracking down" on steroid use, bringing Congress into it and everything? Ruining careers, hall of fame records, the whole nine? Well it seems that while they were smearing names all over the media (poor, poor Barry...) only one elected official bothered mention the over 100 players they have using banned "stimulants."

Why is this a major concern? I mean, let's be real: steroids and human growth hormones, yeah, they can give a player an unfair physical advantage. But do medications like Adderall and Ritalin fall under that category, too?

What these stimulants do, essentially, is help the user focus or concentrate for a prolonged amount of time (i.e. 9+ innings of a ballgame). Usually, Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) patients, but what Rep. John Tierny (D-MA) noted during the congressional hearings in 2008 was that a trend of MLB players allowed* to take stimulants had grown in an alarming rate from one year to the next. Basically, he was implying (all IN they face) that he didn't believe them; they needed more people.

ADHD is characterized by difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity. Pretty much take your typical 2-year-old's behavior and extrapolate that to a 10-year-old or a 23-year-old (or a 34-year-old *cough*ME*cough*) and you probably have an ADHD patient.

Tierney's smoking gun vs MLB? In 2006 only 28 players were being prescribed medications for ADHD. In 2008 it exploded to over 100 MLB athletes. That translates to over 8% of baseball players in the league with ADHD as opposed to only 3-5% of the regular population. Suspicious or coincidence?

Some pundits are all, "This disease is still rather new; many of these players were probably never diagnosed as children and have only recently come to find they have the disorder" while skeptics maintain the, "yeah, riiiiiight!" defense. And both have a point. ADHD is fairly new, and medications and therapies are popping up all the time to treat it. Then again... listen, we all know shady doctors exist. And greedy team managers exist. And athletes have that MUST WIN AT ALL COSTS mentality. Could some of those 108 players permitted to use stimulants be faking? Of course. Can we prove it? Probably not.

Which again, begs the question- should we care about this as much as we do about steroids?

Tell me your thoughts...
*by "allowed" I mean players are issued a Therapeutic-Use Exemption (TUE) by the league to take a prescribed medication that is on the banned list.


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