Athletes who have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to choose to participate in team contact sports rather than individual sports, a recent study suggests.

This choice could increase the risk of injury among such athletes, according to the study, presented recently at the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting.

In the study, researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center analyzed more than 850 athletes who competed in a variety of sports at the university over a 5-year period.

“We expected athletes with ADHD to gravitate toward individual sports, like golf or tennis, where they have more control, there is a little bit more repetitiveness and they don’t have to worry about the responsibilities or roles of teammates or opponents,” says Dr James Borchers, director of the Division of Sports Medicine at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, in a media release.

“But what we found was our athletes with ADHD were twice as likely to compete in team sports, and their rate of participation in contact sports, like football, hockey and lacrosse, was 142 percent higher.”

The researchers also noted the injuries among the athletes. According to the release, they suggest that although there is no direct correlation between ADHD and certain types of injures, there may be an increased risk of injury.

We know in young people with ADHD that they do have an increase in impulsivity and a little bit more reckless behavior,” states Dr Trevor Kitchin, primary care sports medicine fellow and researcher. “We’re not saying that ADHD led to injury, but given its known characteristics, it may be putting these athletes at higher risk, especially in contact sports.”

Despite the risks, doctors encourage parents of children with ADHD to let them participate in any sport that they’re interested in, as the benefits of sports participation outweigh any issues that may arise because the children have ADHD.

“One of the most important things is having an open dialogue between the athlete, parents, coaches and athletic trainers so that they can work together to give the athlete the resources necessary to be successful in their sport,” Kitchin adds.

[Source(s): The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, EurekAlert]