first_imgProfessional gamers are going to have to submit to drug testing before jumping on the computer for their next big tournament. The Electronic Sports League announced this week that they will require mandatory drug testing before their major events, starting with next month’s ESL One in Cologne, Germany. The move came after a player admitted to using the drug Adderall during a Counter Strike match hosted by the ESL. This is causing quite a stir amongst the gaming community.Trevor Schmidt, Senior Manager at the Electronic Sports League, told Geek.com that in light of a player coming out about his use of Adderall, the ESL plans to revise their drug policies going forward. That player was Cory Friesen, better known to fellow gamers as “Semphis,” who said in a YouTube video last week that he and fellow Cloud9 team members used the drug during a Counter Strike tournament hosted by the ESL. “Esports has seen a dramatic increase in prize money, sponsorship and demand on the players to be successful. The need to find an edge against their fellow competitors has led many players in the direction of PEDs [Performance Enhancing Drugs]. ESL believes it’s critical to provide a level playing field for all players and to maintain the integrity of the sport moving forward,” Schmidt added.The ESL is still working out which exact drugs they will be testing for, and determining what the punishment will be for those who test positive. But their key focus is on amphetamines. They plan to use skin and sweat tests on site during the tournament. Schmidt says these tests will not interfere with the player’s scheduled matches. They also hope to raise awareness of the dangers of performance enhancing drugs by partnering with NADA at the event, and offer information to players and fans alike. The ESL feels it is integral to test players for PEDs. Those at the competitive level often spend eight hours a day, over a span of two to three days in a series of tournaments, and Schmidt says this leads to professional players wanting to maintain a strong edge for the duration of the event. “For all of these reasons and more, drugs that help give them energy, focus and improve their attention to detail are obviously of huge benefit.”Berserk: USF4 Jemmillion vs AG|Demon Hyo.But not everyone agrees. I spoke with professional gamer and commentator @Jemmillion who feels there’s more to gaming than just being able to stay focused. “Can Adderall help a player focus more, and therefore perform better? Yes, it’s possible. But if that player knows nothing about the game, the characters, the moves, etc., being able to focus won’t matter.” She feels there’s more to the issue than fairness and equality, and doesn’t think drug testing has a place in the ESL, “I think it’s going to cause unnecessary issues for the eSports community at a time where we are finally growing and gaining positive publicity.”Drug testing is mandatory in other major sports competitions, so it should come as no surprise that the Electronic Sports League is following suit and instituting their regulations. When people talk about performance enhancing drugs in other sports, they look mainly at the Human Growth Hormone and other steroids that change the players physical attributes — making them stronger, faster, a near superhuman. Adderall has been described as having a similar effect to the mind by some professionals, “It is used to treat children for ADHD but has the exact opposite effect in adults and is in the category of amphetamines,” Michael Bender, PT, DPT, a physical therapist out of Los Angeles, CA told Geek.com.This isn’t the first time Adderall has been in the news. Over the last few years the drug has gained a lot of attention because of its growing use on college campuses. Studies found that students, especially upper classmen and those in more demanding programs, have turned to Adderall as a way to stay focused and stay awake to get through assignments. A report released by the US National Library of Medicine/ National Institutes of Health found some 34% of students surveyed admitting to using Adderall without a prescription when they were stressed out about a school project or test.It’s no wonder the practice has caught on with the professional gaming community. Back in 2013, the United States began recognizing eSports players as professional athletes, which included granting Visa status to those coming into the US to compete. With competitive gaming growing in national popularity, even ESPN 2 aired Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm Heroes of the Dorm finals live back in April, the sport has more eyes than ever on it. And with that attention also comes a measure of scrutiny.More Than a Game, a documentary by Thomas Hewett and Jack Abbot.What used to be a group of players crowded around an arcade machine in the back of a New York arcade competing for cash prizes, has turned into a series of multimillion dollar world-wide events. Some of the best esports players easily make six figures in a year, with a very few even earning over one million dollars. Hao, a player from China, brought in $1,112,280.99 in 2014 just from playing in competitive DOTA matches. There’s a lot of money to be made in this world, and that ups the ante for players to make sure they are on the top of their game.While the ESL is still working out the specifics, players are already voicing their concerns about how those with legitimate, doctors prescribed doses of Adderall and other drugs will effect their ability to compete in tournaments. Jemmillion, who questions the ESL’s decision, worries how they will handle prescribed medications, “The even bigger issue is telling a player who has a prescription from a doctor and medically needs to take the medication, that they aren’t allowed to compete, because they took it. This is an issue that begins to fall heavily into the whole “fairness and equality” aspect. “Schmidt wanted to assure both players and spectators that the ESL is making sure every case will be examined with care. He cites that they will be following practices established in more traditional sports leagues, and will alter their exemption list accordingly. They are working with the World Anti Doping Agency, and Germany’s own National Anti Doping Agentur, to keep to a high standards and practices.It’s a sticky situation, regardless. While it may seem easy to compare a drug like Adderall to HGH, they really do produce two very different effects on the body. Some people honestly need Adderall in their daily lives to function, but a controlled substance taken without a prescription is illegal in most countries, and the ESL is within their right to take action against players they feel are abusing a drug.last_img read more