Among the most inspiring stories in sports involve those where an athlete is forced to overcome a physical disability. Special Olympics, Paralympics and other events celebrate these physical challenges. Unfortunately, athletes who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) face less obvious obstacles in life and in sports.
ADHD is a chronic condition that includes difficulty maintaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. It is believed to affect as many as ten percent of children in the United States. Although children with ADHD are a major concern, these symptoms may persist into adulthood.
There are varying levels of severity of ADHD. Some patients require medication while others respond to behavioral therapy alone or a combination of both.
The most effective medications for the treatment of ADHD are psychostimulant medications like Ritalin and Adderall. These medications serve to balance the concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Sports can play an important role in development. Physical fitness, team interaction, discipline and strategic planning are all valuable lessons. Choosing an appropriate sport for a child with ADHD may avoid frustration and anxiety.
High velocity collision sports and combat sports like football and boxing should be avoided. Recent studies have shown that athletes with ADHD have more severe symptoms and longer recovery periods from concussions.
Sports that rely on individual effort for success are best suited for children with inattention and impulsivity like those who suffer from ADHD.
Swimming, running, gymnastics and tennis demand individualized attention by an athlete. This allows coaches to modify workouts that will suit each child and create an environment for maximum enjoyment and success.
Judo, karate and other martial arts are among the best activities for children with ADHD. These sports emphasize coordination, balance and strength.
Organized sports and fitness provide an essential component to child development. Children with ADHD can excel when the right choices are made.