A Big-League ADHDer Hits It Out of the Park

If attention deficit has gotten you down, pro baseballer Andres Torres will show you how to swing for the fences.
The Experts | posted by Wayne Kalyn

A lot of people have ADHD, but they don't want to talk about it. But I am who I am, and I don't feel bad about it.

Major league baseball player Andres Torres

Has your ADHD teen given up hope, at 17, that he will make something of himself because he's not cutting it in school?

Has your husband stopped looking for work after being fired from his last five jobs?

Does your child feel alone and alienated because the world doesn't get her?

It is time for them to dream again. Meet Andres Torres, a major League outfielder, New York Met, and big-time ADDer. He knows all about "strike-three, you're-out" syndrome. He toiled for a decade in baseball's minor leagues -- AA and AAA ball, with brief call-ups to the majors -- working for a break and always coming up short.

Torres had many reasons to give up on baseball. Over 10 years, he had a .210 lifetime batting average and only 54 big-league hits. He played 488 games in the minor leagues without stepping foot in a major-league clubhouse. His untreated ADHD wreaked havoc on his on-field performance, to the point that he couldn't focus on the signals from the hitting coach when he was at the plate.

Then, in 2007, after waiting five years to treat his ADHD, Torres decided to embrace his diagnosis and take ADHD medication. His rocky career path became a Yellow Brick Road. He finished the season with a .292 average and batted .306 for Chicago Cubs' AAA team in 2008. The next year, 2009, he signed, finally, at 31, with the San Francisco Giants, and he was key to helping them win the World Series in 2010.

Offers came his way. Torres agreed to work with award-winning director Anthony Haney-Jardine, who is making a documentary, tentatively titled Gigante, about Torres's struggles and eventual success. There is no release date yet.

Most importantly, he announced that he had ADHD, and ADDers around the country heard him and took heart.

"A lot of people have the condition," says Torres, who hopes his candor about ADHD will help remove its stigma, "but they don't want to talk about it. Having ADHD is like being in your own world. But I am who I am, and I don't feel bad about it."

William Chang, part owner of the Giants, and the inspiration behind the documentary, was taken with Torres’s story. Chang long suspected that he, too, had the disorder because he was continually in trouble at school and with his parents.

"It struck a chord with me," Chang told the New York Times. "He struggled and struggled and struggled and finally found success."

Many ADDers who watched the YouTube video about Torres have found a bridge back to hope and encouragement.

"My son was diagnosed with ADHD earlier this year. People/kids with ADHD need to understand that they could still be something great!"

"My little brother has ADHD, and this movie will be so moving that I can't wait to show the family."

"I was diagnosed with adult ADHD and am coming to terms with what it all means...I am looking forward to learning more about this young man's journey and connecting the dots."

"After seeing the YouTube video of Andres, my wife was inspired to receive therapy and medication for her ADHD. Her actions inspired my son to get help for his ADHD."

"My nine-year-old son has ADHD, and every day we struggle. He doesn't have any friends, he tries hard to behave, to do well in school and to make and keep friends. Some days are better than others, but I hope that he can watch this documentary and see that even though you may not always be liked, and things may be a little harder for you, that you can be successful."

Thank you, Andres.

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