NFL players using Adderall to gain edge on the field


When I started this blog, I promised myself I would be consistent in maintaining it and write a post at least twice a month (I came to the conclusion that visiting my own blog and re-reading old posts doesn’t count as maintaining). With over four months between now and my last post I clearly did not keep that promise to myself. After finally settling into the Washington DC area and my new school, I found a story that lit enough of a fire inside me to write again (either that or I desperately needed a break from studying for finals).

Let me start with the fact that I’m still struggling with the news that some NFL players have been using Viagra as a performance enhancing drug (PED). First of all, I would definitely not want to be in a pile with 300 pound linemen wearing tight pants and using Viagra. Aside from that, personally I would see the effects of Viagra as more of a hindrance than an edge, but I’m going to leave that story alone right now.

With the recent news breaking that NFL players have been using Adderall to gain a competitive advantage on the field, I couldn’t help but relate it to my first year of law school. It’s widely known that Adderall is used to enhance focus and concentration over an extended period of time and that students have used it to gain an advantage for years. With the competitive nature of law school, use of the drug is highly prevalent, especially among first year law students where your rank amongst your peers can largely determine your future success.

When I started law school, I decided that I was going to do everything in my power to ensure I was at the top of my class. I put every ounce of energy I had into school and made sure every second of my day was used to further my success in school. If I wasn’t studying, I was eating, sleeping, or working out, all designed to ensure I was able to study more. I won’t lie — when I found out many of my classmates were using Adderall to study, I began weighing the pros and cons of taking it. Being so focused on one goal and wanting it so much forced me to take it into consideration and maybe 10 years ago I would have tried it. Very quickly however, I came to the decision that I was not going to sacrifice my long-term health for a slight edge in school. In no way will I condemn anyone for using it, but I decided that my edge was going to be taking care of my health and outworking everyone. To an extent, it worked. I may not have done as well as I could have with the help of Adderall, but I did well enough to accomplish my goal of transferring to a first tier law school.

After I decided not to use Adderall, I couldn’t help but think about and compare my feelings to the feelings of baseball players during the steroid era. Barry Bonds (allegedly) used steroids and may not make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame (even that may still happen) but he arguably made millions of dollars more by using steroids and breaking Hank Aaron’s all time home run record (and the single season home run record ironically set by another steroid user). Compare that to a minor league player trying to make it to the majors without using PED’s. The minor league salary of a first year player is $2,150 per month ($25,800 annually) while the average annual major league salary is $3,095,183 according to MLB Players association. Clearly the financial reward is enormous just to make it to the Major League level but is it worth the long-term health risks?

It has yet to be seen how his alleged steroid use will affect Bonds’ health in the future, but in my (completely non-medical) opinion, very few people will coast through life with no health issues after prolonged steroid use.

I apply the logic above to my situation and continue to be proud of the fact that wherever I end up I will have done so knowing I did it without any help and without the fear of my health being affected later on in life.


About Rajiv Radia

Rajiv is a third year law student at American University - Washington College of Law in Washington DC and a long time sports fanatic.
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