Athletes with ADHD may risk more injuries

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Athletes with ADHD may risk more injuries. Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on May 25, 2017. (WPVI)

Researchers have long focused on how the 6 million children struggling with ADHD function in the classroom.

While they have learned a lot about that, they know little about how those kids function in sports.

They do know sports can alleviate some of the symptoms of ADHD in young people.

However, those student athletes may also run a higher risk of injuries.

"We expect a lot of athletes with ADHD to gravitate towards an individual sport, where they have maybe a little more control, there's a little bit more repetitiveness." says Dr. James Borcher, of Ohio State University Medical Center.

Surprisingly, a study of nearly a thousand athletes by Ohio State found students with ADHD tend to go for team sports, not individual ones.

And they overwhelmingly favor contact sports.

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

There's no direct link between ADHD and sports injuries.

However, experts say it's a good idea that coaches are told about ADHD early on, so they can help the athletes play safely.

Dr. Borcher says, "If we do have more student athletes than we might have expected in contact sports, we need to understand the challenges those athletes may have with ADHD, and how we can better support them so they're successful in that sport."

"If an athlete has difficulty with attention, focus, retention, participation because of those issues, that they get them to the right people to get to an evaluation," he continued.

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