Modafinil In Sports: Is the Smart Drug a Performance Enhancer?
Modafinil in sports? Yep, you read that right. The smart drug offers more than just cognitive benefits for students, CEOs, and hustlers.
Many athletes have taken Modafinil to get an edge and enhance performance. Why? Because the cognitive benefits that smart drugs like Modafinil and Armodafinil offer have athletic applications.
The great baseball player Yogi Berra once said (Source):
“Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.”
Other famous athletes, like Michael Jordan, have offered similar sentiments. All believe that success in sports begins with conquering the mind. That the mental side of athletics separates the champions from the nobodies.
So, it’s easy to see how Modafinil could benefit an athlete. Modafinil could battle any and all mental fatigue an athlete experiences, while allowing them to stay “in the zone” for as long as needed.
But, how common is Modafinil in sports? Let’s dig in and find out.
P.S: I am not a doctor or a lawyer. This is not medical or legal advice. This article was created with entertainment in mind. Always consult a medical professional before consuming any pharmaceutical drug.
What is Modafinil?
Before we get too far, let’s breakdown exactly what Modafinil is. Nowadays, the vast majority of people take Modafinil as a smart drug. The drug is used to:
Improve overall cognition
Keep you working 12+ hours
Helps you pull all-nighters or ward off hangovers
Originally, Modafinil was developed as a pharmaceutical drug in France under the brand name, Provigil. Provigil was designed to be a wakefulness agent. The drug was created to treat ailments like (Source):
Shift sleep disorder
If you had trouble staying awake or staying focused, Provigil could help you. But, then people who didn’t have trouble staying awake found the drug and realized it could also keep you sharp and completely eliminate even the slightest form of mental fatigue.
If you’ve ever played sports before, it’s easy to imagine how Modafinil could benefit you. A smart drug designed to keep you focused at all times could have huge benefits to athletes. Think about it…
The sharpshooting basketball player who “just can’t miss” because he takes some Modafinil before a game and is dialed in from deep.
The home run hitting baseball player who uses the heightened focus from Modafinil to dial in on pitch after pitch and send them yard.
Nearly every sport requires an athlete to focus 100% at the task at hand and give that task their full and undivided attention. Modafinil can help athletes do just that. Here are a few other benefits of Modafinil in sports:
In the Zone: Every athlete remembers that one day where everything went right. Everything was going in. They couldn’t miss. They played nearly a perfect game. But, for most athletes, this happens once or twice. It’s impossible to replicate that type of performance every game. With Modafinil, athletes can reach levels of focus only achieved on their best days ever. Modafinil can help athletes get “in the zone” every game.
No More Mental Fatigue: Every athlete understands physical fatigue, but mental fatigue can be just as big of a problem. This is especially true when playing games on back-to-back days or competing in a tournament all weekend long. Your body may be tired, but your mind is surely exhausted after elevated focus and intensity for days on end. Modafinil can eliminate the mental fatigue that comes from days of grueling competition. With this nootropic, you can be sharper on the final day of the competition than the first.
Crazy Reaction Time: There’s a reason track athletes have traditionally tested positive for Modafinil use. Why? Because of the crazy reaction times. Modafinil heightens your focus and allows sprinters to hone in at the start of a race. The crazy focus leads to a crazy reaction time, which allows sprinters to get out of the blocks faster than ever before.
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Three High Profile Cases
Don’t just take my word for it! There are many cases of high profile athletes getting caught with Modafinil in their systems. Many claim it was prescribed for sleep disorders, but no governing body actually believes that.
Here are three athletes that got caught with Modafinil in their system:
Kelli White: American sprint champion Kelli White was stripped of her gold medals at the World Championships (100m and 200m) after she failed multiple drug tests for Modafinil usage. White claimed she had a sleeping disorder and may have gotten away with it, but then six other American track and field athletes tested positive for Modafinil that same year (Source).
Barry Bonds: When Barry Bonds was under investigation for steroids stemming from the BALCO investigation, documents found Bonds was also taking Modafinil. When asked about his Modafinil, Bonds denied ever taking it. However, many speculate he was, as the heightened focus from smart drugs offers huge benefits in the batter’s box (Source).
Dwain Chambers: Banned from ever competing in the Olympics again, Dwain Chambers came forward with the extent of his drug use in his autobiography. While his steroid use was highlighted, the former sprint champion also was taking Modafinil. Why? For increased mental alertness and faster reaction times (Source).
Now, it should be noted that Modafinil isn’t ideal for all types of sporting events. Many endurance athletes have found Modafinil makes life harder on them during training and competition.
Why? Because Modafinil heightens focus and increase your ability to go fast at the beginning. If you’re working past your training abilities while on Modafinil, your body will physically fatigue before your mind does.
As such, many endurance sport athletes find they start strong when taking Modafinil, but flounder at the finish of a race or competition. Just food for thought…
Is Modafinil In Sports Legal?
The short answer: NO.
If you compete collegiately or professionally, then there’s a pretty good chance Modafinil usage is on a banned substance list from your sport’s organizational body.
You should never take Modafinil if:
You play collegiate athletics in the NCAA, NAIA, etc.
You’re a professional track and field athlete.
You’re subjected to random drug testings from your sport’s organization body.
Currently, Modafinil is on the list of banned substances from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Source). This will not change anytime soon. Overall, Modafinil in sports is fine for recreational athletes, but once money is involved via scholarships or contracts – Modafinil simply isn’t worth the risk.
Modafinil In Sports: Is the Smart Drug a Performance Enhancer?
Overall, Modafinil does have vast benefits for athletes. Modafinil in sports can be ideal, especially in sports involving reaction times and skill.
While potentially beneficial, most athletes should steer clear of using Modafinil during competition. In most sporting events, the smart drug is considered illegal and you could be banned from competing if they find traces of the pharmaceutical drug in your system.
Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.