EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- New York Giants safety Tyler Sash is one of 10 players who have failed random league-mandated drug tests after taking the prescription amphetamine Adderall.
Used to treat attention deficit disorder, Adderall is commonly prescribed to youths struggling with the disorder, which makes them rowdy in school and unable to concentrate on homework, doctors told The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger Wednesday. The NFL considers it a performance-enhancing drug and the newspaper cited anonymous sources who say some players take it during the off-season or during training camp to help them focus on studying their playbooks.
Sash tells a different story, though. Always a reluctant public speaker, he called his doctor when invited to return to his hometown of Oskaloosa, Iowa, to celebrate Tyler Sash Day, after his team won last year's Super Bowl. Sash said his doctor prescribed the Adderall to help calm his nerves and focus while he was giving the speech he dreaded.
Sash said he took two of the pills the night before the ceremony and two more shortly before it began and he felt immediately at ease, making it through his remarks without issue.
It wasn't until several days later when he got the results of a random urine test -- one he had no reason to suspect he was in danger of having failed -- that he realized what taking the drug had meant. He was suspended for four games and it cost the backup safety $120,000 in salary.
The league and players' union have tried to educate players about what legal drugs are still banned from the sport, but players told The Star-Ledger that usually comes in the form of a laundry list of obscure medication names posted as an afterthought in the trainer's room.
"I'm the type of guy that does everything by the book, and if I would've known that it was illegal, I wouldn't have even done it," Sash said.
Of the 10 cases so far this year, only Sash's Giants teammate Andre Brown won an appeal of the drug test finding after showing evidence he'd been prescribed Adderall since childhood to treat a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.