I’m worn out just thinking about it.

Who knew?  All this time (15 years), and who knew?

It turns out that one of the most effective strategies to focus the ADHD brain, at least in our house, is to physically exhaust the body.  Add exhaustion of the mind to that, and you’re really rocking.

Clark the ADHD Wonder Kid, our human guinea pig, has just wrapped up 13-hour days at Bellaire High where the football team practiced three times a day.  In the 107-degree-heat-indexed-August days of Houston.  Yikes.

Our big, tired, happy ADHD boy is not showing many signs of ADHD this week. Shown here with his beautiful older sister on the 1st day of school.

Between their three 1.5-hour practices each day, the boys were in lock-down.  They spent most of this time time in brainwash-mode: lectures, films, plays, conduct, rules and even teamwork/bonding activities (of course they didn’t call them that to teenage boys!).

He stumbled home physically and mentally spent on day one.  But instead of behaving like a zoned-out zombie, he was simply . . . calm.


Not buzzing and zipping around.

Capable.  Helpful.  Conversational.  Thoughtful. Thinking about the next day.

HOLY CRAP.  HE WAS PLANNING.  HE PACKED A BAG. (Not very well, but baby steps, People!)

He kept up this regimen for six days, then the team slipped back to two-a-days in week two.  Sure, he got sick from exhaustion, but that’s what Vitamin C is for, right?  The important thing was he was so much less of all the things he normally is that we almost didn’t know him.  Woo hoo!  Kidding.  Mostly.

Why didn’t anyone ever tell me this was all it took?  If you knew this and withheld it from me, I’m coming after you.  Watch your back.

So on to the first day of school:  he left the house at 6:45 a.m. and returned at 7:30 p.m.  He only practiced football  for two hours instead of five, but his mental workout was tougher.  Result?  He finished his homework , he helped clean up after dinner, and he sang (to the annoyance of all of the rest of us) as he watched Monday Night Football.

Color me optimistic about 10th grade,


p.s. The “thing” he was most of all?  Happy.  🙂

p.p.s. OMG, what will we do when football season is over?!?

15 Responses to “I’m worn out just thinking about it.”
  1. Heidiopia says:

    Indeed! My “Clark” was the same way… just be on your guard for when football ends; that’s when the wheels came off for us. As my mom used to say: a tired kid is a good kid. 🙂 Go Clark!!

    • Pamela says:

      Oh Heidiopia, that is EXACTLY what I am scared of. And we will be so bummed because this “tired kid honeymoon period” is wonderful. I’m wondering what we can sign him up for after football!

  2. Peter Fagan says:

    After football season? It’s called off season workouts. Keep em working.

    • Pamela says:

      Yep! The trick will be keeping him working as much or more than other kids without STRUCTURE and with parents who have no choice but to work. The fire is not yet lit from within on the ole Clarkster. It will be a family challenge! But we are up for it 🙂

  3. Kim Jackson says:

    After football have him try out for basketball.. With the height he put on over the summer he may enjoy it! And then it will be spring with track, tennis, golf,soccer, ect… My kids both play sports year round.. Even if they are not great at them… Just to keep them tired and out of trouble! 🙂

    • Pamela says:

      Our challenge with 3500 kids in his high school is that basketball and soccer are “make the team” programs. Football, with 160 boys, has 5 teams. The others — only 3. So, we have our eye on lacrosse, which is non UIL and most guys that go out get to participate. My parents offered to let him go to high school in their small town (1A school) which was tempting just so he could participate in everything, but we can’t move there and neither he nor we want him to be away. So….we’re going to have to work this one hard.

  4. Glenda Finnegan says:

    Sign him up for basketball, track, swimming, soccer, baseball and anything else you can think of! You’ve given me an idea for my adhd 13 yr old!

  5. Eric Hutchins says:

    Lifting and running with us!

  6. Kris J. says:

    what about wrestling as a winter sport as an alternative to basketball? (it’s a winter school sport in NY anyways…)

  7. The elementary school teacher’s best friend?….a period of PE in the middle of the day!!!

    Look for off campus leagues where everyone who wants to play gets to play…maybe through a local Rec department.

  8. Penny says:

    John Ratey (PhD, I think) swears that all it takes is daily aerobic exercise to manage ADHD. I have offered for Luke to join the track team in the summer and swimming, but he has no interest. I am hoping as he gets older (7 yo now), he will have more interest in these things. I have also read several articles by teens and adults with ADHD who say daily morning running or cycling changed their lives.

    Way to go Clark, by the way!
    {a mom’s view of ADHD}

    • Pamela says:

      The hardest thing for us is getting him to choose to exercise enough that it makes a difference. Short of running behind him with a bullhorn and a whip, this has just not been something we could make happen from about 8-14. I believe that maturity and medication made the difference this year in him finding the focus and motivation to WANT to do something for himself. Thank you God.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] with that boy. Last we checked in on Clark, he had transformed his manatee-self into a 5’10” lean machine through playing on his 5A high school’s football team.  Three-a-day workout exhaustion focused his scattered ADHD mind.  Things looked good.  Really […]

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