Should You Reveal Your ADHD to Your Coach?

Health Writer
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurobiological disorders of childhood and often continues through adolescence and adulthood. The Centers for Disease Control report that ADHD occurs in approximately one out of 10 children and that number is on the rise.

If you are an athlete, you may be trying to decide if you should reveal your condition to your coach, especially if you are preparing to attend college. There are at least three things to consider when making this decision.

1. Who did your original ADHD assessment? Often times, a child or teen with ADHD is diagnosed with the condition by a primary care physician without a comprehensive assessment and just based on a short conversation with the patient or parents. In order for ADHD to be recognized and supported at many colleges or universities, the student-athlete must go through a multi-method evaluation that involves interviews, rating scales, psychological tests and a review of past academic records.

2. How much do your symptoms interfere with daily activities? The core ADHD symptoms are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Any of these symptoms can be detrimental to learning in a college classroom environment or paying careful attention to a coach. It is important that you consider how your symptoms may impact your academics and your ability to get along with your coaches and teammates and whether everyone may benefit from understanding your condition.

3. Are you taking any medications for treatment? Sometimes ADHD is treated with stimulant medications. These are NCAA banned substances and their use requires the institute of higher education to maintain documentation on file and submit a medical exception request for you to participate (there is even an NCAA medical exception ADHD reporting form). If you are taking any ADHD medications, the training room will need to be informed. If the medication is not banned by the NCAA, it may be up to you to reveal why are you taking a particular medication.

Students with ADHD face a number of challenges. It is important that if you are a student-athlete, you choose the most supportive team and coaching environment possible whether or not you plan to reveal your condition.

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