A pediatrician diagnosed the Olympic Swimming Champion, Michael Phelps, with ADHD when he was in the sixth grade. He started taking the drug Ritalin. Though the drug did help him with his jumpiness and inattention in the classroom, he was not happy. He found it embarrassing to have the school nurse come remind him to take his Ritalin in front of his friends. His teacher told his parents that he would never succeed at anything because of his inability to focus.

Michael Phelps overcame ADHD without being on Ritalin by using swimming to focus his energy.

When Michael was 13, he decided, against his mother’s wishes, that he did not want to use the crutch of Ritalin any longer. He turned to swimming to help him use his excess energy and better focus his mind for school work. Thank goodness he did not listen to that teacher! Now Michael is a role model for those who struggle with the ability to focus. Maybe he will inspire parents of these children to look at alternative methods to help them.
Feeling that the drug was a crutch, Phelps decided to learn to use his mind to focus and control himself in the class room. However, like they say, nothing is impossible.
~Marilyn Wedge Ph.D.

Key Takeaways:

Olympiad Michael Phelps struggled with ADHD as a child.
He was on Ritalin for several years as as child, but was determined to replace this medication with swimming.
Phelps’ coping mechanism for ADHD turning him into an Olympic athlete.

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