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How ADHD affects student athletes

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Like millions of other students diagnosed with ADHD, Brian Ward says whether it was high school or college, keeping up in class has always been a struggle.

Brian Ward says, "I couldn't really sit still, trouble focusing in school, simple homework tasks would take me a while."

Brian takes medication to help control the symptoms of his ADHD.

But it's on the Lacrosse field where Brian says he always felt his best.

Doctors say there are many benefits to playing sports for children with ADHD and they encourage them to participate. If you have a child with ADHD, be sure to talk with their coaches and trainers to make them aware of the condition at the start of the season.

Dr. Trevor Kitchin says, "A lot of studies have actually shown that participation in sports can help alleviate some of the symptoms of ADHD kind of being on the field getting rid of some of that extra energy that they have."

But what role does ADHD play in their athletic lives? Doctor James Borchers is a sports medicine expert. He says while there has been a lot of research on how ADHD affects students, less is known about how it can affect athletes.

Dr. James Borchers, Sports Medicine Expert says, "We expect a lot of athletes with ADHD to gravitate towards an individual sport, where they have maybe a little bit more control, there's a little bit more repetitiveness."

But they found just the opposite; athletes with ADHD were nearly twice as likely to compete in team sports. And, their participation in contact sports was 142 percent higher than in non-contact sports, which could present some challenges.

Dr. Kitchin says, "We also find that they do have an increase in impulsivity and a little bit more reckless behavior which can put them at a higher risk for injury, especially in those contact sports."

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