As the world of eSports grows, so does the pressure to perform. The health concerns of its players have already been called into question after a string of early retirements, resulting from repetitive stress injuries. But recent news of players using performance-enhancing drugs to get an edge has been making the rounds, forcing some organizations to have to enforce their no-doping policies.
It was a system based on trust by the fans and leagues. But the increasing number of rumors seemed to indicate that doping was alive and well in the world of eSports.
You may be wondering what kind of drugs could an eSports player use to get an edge over other players. Adderall would be a good candidate, as it was recently confirmed by a former member of the team Cloud9 that some of its players used it to boost their concentration. It was high-level Counter Strike: Global Offensive player Kory “SEMPHIS” Friesen that laid it out so plainly in an interview with Mohan "Launders" Govindasamy on his YouTube channel:
"I don't even care. We were all on Adderall. I don't even give a fuck. It was pretty obvious if you listened to the comms. People can hate it or whatever."
The Electronic Sports League (ESL), which is one of the largest and oldest eSports organizations, never condoned the use of drugs, stating in the official rulebook:
"To play a match, be it online or offline, under the influence of any drugs, alcohol, or other performance enhancers is strictly prohibited, and may be punished with exclusion."
But with this recent admission from Friesen, the ESL has come out with a release stating their intentions to take measures to enforce these rules. The organization plans on partnering with the Nationale Anti Doping Agentur in Bonn, Germany, and the World Anti-Doping Agency in Montreal, Canada, to help them create an anti-performance-enhancing drug program that's both effective and fair.
The first drug test will be at the ESL One Cologne event in August, putting many players on notice (if rumors of rampant drug use are true).
This news, while not unexpected, hurts the spirit of a competition that's just starting to get off the ground. Any sport or competition is meant to celebrate those with the drive and skills to compete, but using Adderall is allowing a group of people to succeed in a field where they otherwise would not.
If teams want to enhance their concentration, they should figure out how to induce flow states. Award-winning journalist Steven Kotler explains how the neurochemical changes during flow states can strengthen motivation, creativity, and learning, gaining access to our optimal state of consciousness.
Read more at ESL.
Photo Credit: Imeh Akpanudosen / Stringer/ Getty