The Stars Who Aligned ADHD with Success

Let these successful celebs — like Howie Mandel, Salma Hayek, and Ty Pennington — and their triumphant stories inspire you to harness the power of your ADHD or learning disability.

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ADD/ADHD Athletes

Diagnosed with ADD/ADHD when he was just 9 years old, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps always has had one ally in his corner: his mom, Debbie, a middle school teacher who made sure her distracted son was always focused during school. Swimming was a therapeutic release for Phelps, who eventually stopped taking stimulant medication and compensates by working out, according to the New York Times. “I'm just different in the water,” Phelps told Sports Illustrated.

Before he was diagnosed, and subsequently treated, Major League Baseball pitcher Scott Eyre would get distracted after a conversation and not remember any of it. Eventually a team therapist pulled the southpaw pitcher aside and suggested he might have ADD/ADHD. In an interview with ADDitude, Eyre said taking Concerta daily has not only improved his game but it has also signaled to other pro players and famous people with ADHD that they can come forward about their condition and serve to inspire others.

The first woman to ski across Greenland and reach the North Pole by dogsled, polar explorer Ann Bancroft, has long struggled with dyslexia. Before exploring the outermost areas of the planet, she worked as a special education teacher, giving back to the community that helped her along the way.

Luke Kohl grew up hoping baseball would help his ADD/ADHD. Despite taking Ritalin, he often found himself in the principal’s office at school. Then, after tearing his rotator cuff at age 13, he thought it was clear he’d never hit another home run. Instead of giving in to the depression that followed his injury, Luke picked up a five iron and started caddying for PGA players, according to ADDitude magazine. Participating in an organized activity has helped him channel his energy and frustration into something worthwhile and productive.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and football analyst Terry Bradshaw revealed in his book Keep It Simple that he has struggled with ADD/ADHD for years. He’s also battled clinical depression along the way, according to, but none of his diagnoses stopped him from being inducted into the National Football League’s Hall of Fame.


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TAGS: ADHD Role Models, Famous People with ADHD, Focus at Work, Get Organized at Work, Vyvanse

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