A couple of years ago Congress started making Major League Baseball turn over figures showing how many drug exemptions it gave out in light of concern that players were falsely claiming to have ADHD or related disorders in order to get their hands on banned stimulants. The numbers are in for this year, and they show a slight increase in the number of exemptions, with 108 players getting exemptions last season, after 106 got them in 2008 and 103 did in 2007.
As Rob Neyer points out, this is not an alarming number. In 2009, 1,156 players appeared in at least one major league game. That means that around nine percent. According to the National Institutes of Health, ADHD occurs in 3-10% of the general population. If there was some major effort to scam the system for uppers, you’d figure the number would be higher. Also of interest in the report:
Twelve players tested positive for stimulants: 11 for Adderall and one
for clobenzorex. Two players received exemptions to use
performance-enhancing drugs because of hypertension, two for low levels
of testosterone, one for narcolepsy, one for obsessive compulsive
disorder and one for postconcussion syndrome.
Not to make light of the disorder or anything, but I bet we could figure out who the OCD ballplayer is: just look for the guy who constantly adjusts his batting gloves and makes a point not to step on the white line going on and off the field.