As a neuropsychiatrist specializing in ADHD, I meet many talented clients who have succeeded and exceled using their positive ADHD traits such as high energy and creativity. Recently I had the privilege of performing ADHD evaluations for a group of such clients – the MLB. Yes, major and minor league professional baseball players can have ADHD too! There are approximately 50 of us certified in the U.S. to perform these extensive diagnostic assessments for professional baseball. In order to qualify for medication treatment for their ADHD, professional athletes must be approved for a “Therapeutic Use Exemption”, more commonly known as a TUE. The players undergo a diagnostic evaluation including a medical and psychiatric history, lengthy rating scale questionnaires, family interviews, and screening for co-existing conditions. Faced with the ultimate challenge of recommending TUE’s for only the appropriate professional players, I decided to add a step to this already involved diagnostic process – the Quotient ADHD test.
Why objective testing? Simply stated, it adds data; measurable, quantitative, and qualitative data. In such an important decision tree for professional baseball medication exemption status, I was relieved to have the additional computerized information. Indeed the Quotient is not a stand-alone diagnostic tool, but its’ adjunctive use in ADHD assessments can be invaluable to the clinician and client alike. And with the demanding travel schedule in professional sports, the portable version of the Quotient can easily rack up frequent flier miles in an overhead compartment to meet the athletes when and where they need to be.
As for the professional baseball players, they showed great sportsmanship, true to their profession, in doing the testing with me. They strapped on the Quotient head and leg sensors with initial apprehension, but for most this evolved into a healthy curiosity by the end of our session. The players benefitted from immediate feedback via the Quotient testing report, available minutes after completing the test. In user friendly color and graphics, we reviewed their own unique pattern of attention and impulse control.
As a specialist in ADHD, I do not need the Quotient ADHD test to make a diagnosis. I’m capable and confident without it. However, I appreciate the added value of an objective piece of data for myself and the players to share in the assessment process, raise awareness, educate clients, and assist in treatment planning. I’m grateful the Quotient made the trip to Spring training with me this year and hope the professional players were too.