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A diagnosis of ADHD does not have to be a negative when it comes to sports or any other endeavor for that matter.  Research on ADHD has shown that there are many gifts that come with being ADHD, including:

  • Creativity
  • Adventurousness
  • Seeing the big picture
  • Thinking outside the box
  • Being comfortable with change and even chaos
  • Lots of energy

However, sports is one arena where these gifts allow kids, teens and adults with ADHD to do exceptionally well.  Asurprising number of professional athletes have ADHD.  In fact, it has been estimated that eight to ten percent of all pro athletes have ADHD, as compared to four to five percent of the general population of adults.  Some examples include:

  • Terry Bradshaw, the four time Super Bowl champion quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Michael Phelps, the swimmer who holds the record for most gold medals in a single Olympic games
  • Michael Jordan, formerly of the Chicago Bulls, probably the greatest basketball player of recent times

Michael Jordan – Poetry in Motion

Sports can help the child with ADHD; they are a good energy outlet for children with ADHD and a way to improve interaction skills with others.  In addition to getting rid of the energy from hyperactivity, it can also serve as an outlet they can use to channel their frustration.  The physical activity of sports release natural endorphins which can help relieve the stress that many ADHD children experience.

But choosing the right sport is essential.  First it has to be a sport the child can connect with.  It should also play to the strengths of the ADHD child.  Every child is unique and there are no absolute guidelines.  However, some good candidates can be sport where the rules are straightforward and constant action or motion is essential versus focused concentration.  Such sports might include:

  • Swimming
  • Soccer
  • Hockey
  • Martial arts

In addition, taking daily walks, biking, fishing and other outdoor activities have been shown to have positive effects on behavioral problems and the ability to focus for children with ADHD.  Sports or vigorous physical activity can help connect ADHD kids with their social peers in a way that plays to their strengths and helps them learn to overcome the challenges their condition presents them with every day.  This can be one more valuable gift they can realize from ADHD.