Nine players were suspended for Adderall use by the NFL in 2012. It's a "game-day performance enhancer," says the NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. The players are:
Andre Brown - Giants RB
Brandon Browner - Seahawks CB
Jermaine Cunningham - Patriots DE
Joe Haden - Browns CB
Joe Hawley - Falcons C
Will Hill - Giants S
Tyler Sash - Giants S
Aqib Talib - Patriots CB
Eric Wright- Bucanneers CB
Adderall was placed on the NFL's list of banned substances in 2006. Players can apply for a therapeutic use exception (TUE). After being suspended, the Giants' Brown appealed and received a TUE instead. The other eight players were hit with four-game suspensions.
Update: One Dec. 27, Seahawks CB Richard Sherman won his appeal questioning the validity of the drug test. It turned out the sample had leaked. The NFL promptly overturned Sherman's suspension.
"It masks pain and fatigue, improves reaction time ands alertness, and may increase acceleration speed," says Dr. Gary Wadler, professor at Hofsta-North Shore LIJ School of Medicine, about Adderall.
"It's a stimulant that can combat fatigue and feelings of fatigue on a playing field," adds NFL's senior vice-president of labor law and policy Adolph Birch.
"It would absolutely give you a competitive advantage," notes Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "Fatigue, focus, concentration, maybe aggression… the ability to train harder, longer, the ability to have fewer bad days."
Sash claims he took Adderall in the off-season to calm his nerves before giving a speech in his hometown of Oskaloosa, Iowa during Tyler Sash Day.
"You have to maintain a different level of attention in the secondary," offers Dr. Eric Morse, a sport psychologist based in Raleigh, NC about the prevelance of Adderall use among defensive backs. "You have to watch the quarterback and the wide receiver you're guarding."