eSports aren’t immune to the pressures and temptations of any other sport, especially now that there are millions of dollars and careers at stake. If the concern with traditional sports is that some performers are taking steroids and growth hormones to enhance their abilities, in professional video gaming there’s an entirely different category of drugs that is meant to help players get that extra edge. Before we continue, we need to make it absolutely clear that nobody is condoning the use of performance enhancing drugs, nootropics, “smart drugs”, or anything else because many of today’s substances have potential harmful side effects, especially if they aren’t used as prescribed. Even though there are many more who won’t ever admit it, here are 5 gamers that publicly acknowledged to using performance enhancing drugs.
Kory “Semphis” Friesen
The 26-year-old professional Counter Strike player known as Semphis is the one who rocked the world of eSports when, in July 2015, he publicly admitted to taking performance drugs during a tournament in Poland. “I don’t even care, we were all on Adderall…” were the words that opened the Pandora’s box of ESL investigations, anti-doping tests and public turmoil concerning the use of performance enhancing drugs in eSports. From this moment onward, an avalanche of articles began to spawn in gaming publications as well as in mainstream media, discussing the effects of such substances, how and if players should be periodically tested and most importantly: for how long will this trend be going on. It seems that using Adderall was a somehow open secret in the world of professional gaming, many players taking it but never feeling like they’re doing something wrong.
Steven used to take Adderall as a young child to treat his ADHD so when someone offered him a pill during a tournament he immediately took it, knowing the calming effects it can have. After this instance, he went to his doctor and got a prescription for this performance enhancing drug, making it a habit of using it each time he played online or in competitions. After a while Steven joined a professional Halo team and started using Adderall more and more often because it made him feel less nervous during the stressful competitions. Steven also claims that the use of methamphetamine based drugs is very frequent in eSports, stating that many of the professional Halo players that he met were using on a regular basis.
James “Clayster” Eubanks
In 2013, a professional Call of Duty player known as Clayster was accused, by the rival team, of taking Adderall during professional matches. He didn’t straight up deny this allegation, and after the competition ended he did a Q&A where he stated that he was prescribed this drug since the age of eight when he was first diagnosed with ADD. In addition to this statement, he also mentioned that he wouldn’t “hand it out to his teammates like candy or anything”, making it even more unclear if he was on Adderall during the competition or not. He even accused the opposing team of using the PED drug, only to get himself out of the limelight, but the fact that he didn’t firmly deny the allegations makes us wonder what the true story really is.
The prodigious gamer and world class shit talker Willy Mammoth has publicly acknowledged in one of his popular videos that he was on Adderall, since “performance enhancing substances aren’t banned on YouTube”. The flawless snipes with perfect timing that he performs in the Battlefield 1 video are clearly the result of some type of “smart drug” that can help you calm your nerves and steady your heart rate like a real cold-blooded assassin. Willy Mammoth is known for his fast paced, controversial videos where he performs all kinds of unbelievable gaming maneuvers that can usually be seen only in professional tournaments, so admitting to taking some sort of PED drug comes as no surprise. However, being an outspoken person, the prehistoric cocksman has no problem with coming clean and taking full responsibility for a lifestyle that might not be on everybody’s list of appreciation. Adderall is the most popular performance enhancing drug, giving an impressive boost of energy and concentration that can make a huge difference when playing a competitive game such as Battlefield 1. This extra shot in the arm combined with Willy Mammoth’s natural skill results in the amazing footage you can see every time he posts a new mind blowing video on his YouTube channel.
“A lot of players resort to energy drinks, and other people resort to Adderall,” this is how professional Halo player Tyler Mozingo began his statement regarding the PED issue. Being asked by Kelly Niqui of ESPN’s Outside The Lines if he was one of the people who used Adderall as a helping substance, he simply said “yes”, he was taking it in tournaments, without a medical prescription, just to help him focus better on the game. However it seems that Tyler has stopped using the drug after a while and by 2016, when the discussion took place, he was completely clean, which makes his case applaudable, because not many people can openly admit to using drugs let alone give them up so easily.