Everyone knows by now that gold medal Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps's long hours of training in the pool helped him manage his ADHD symptoms. What about the rest of us? Can sports help other ADDers be more focused, less impulsive, and happier?
For my son, Jarryd, the answer was yes, yes, and yes.
Diagnosed with ADHD as a child, he had boundless energy. The football field and the wrestling mat were safe havens for him — the only places where he could knock people down without getting into trouble. Throwing a shot put and shooting a basketball released his aggression. On the playing field, Jarryd could channel his energy in appropriate, effective, and life-affirming ways.
"As a teen, I felt that everyone hated me," he recalls now. "I was always doing something wrong, it seemed. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when everyone is complaining about you. Sports turned those negative feelings into positive ones."
This article appears in the Winter 2011 issue of ADDitude.
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