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Giants’ Andres Torres Takes a Run at ADHD

Posted Mar 22 2011 9:55am

Yowza, check this news release out. Very good ADD story!

Andres Torres was given an opportunity last season to show he could be an everyday player, and he ran with it. The journeyman outfielder broke through with a monster season, one that led to a World Series ring and hefty offseason raise. Months later, Torres still hasn’t tapped the brakes.

Torres, 33, looks sharp in his first spring as a regular, showing off the balance of speed and power that became so familiar to Giants fans last season. But Torres is eager to also display a side of himself that most Giants fans have never seen. Torres spent his offseason fanatically working out, but also working on a documentary that focuses on his past struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD. The World Series gave Torres a platform to help others, and he intends to take full advantage of it. “This documentary is about helping kids and giving them hope,” said Torres, whose career turned around after he started taking medicine to counteract ADHD. “They can see all the struggles I’ve had in my life and been through. I’ve got this condition that affects me, but I want to share this. “This is important, because a lot of people have ADHD.”

The National Institute of Health estimates that between three and five percent of children in the United States suffer from ADHD. Other studies say the number is even higher.

Growing up in Aguada, Puerto Rico, Torres had no idea that there was a medical reason why he struggled to stay focused or make even the smallest of decisions. He was diagnosed in 2002, but didn’t begin taking medication until 2007. Torres’ struggles on the field during that period nearly washed him out of baseball, which is why he is trying so hard to make sure others avoid the same path.

In the documentary, entitled “Gigante,” Torres is shown returning to his alma mater, Miami-Dade Community College, to speak to young athletes with ADHD. One player told Torres that he posted an article about Torres’ story on his mirror and reads it every morning as motivation.

“When we’ve been out filming, 10 people will come up every day and say, ‘I have ADHD, you’ve been an inspiration.’ It happens every single time,” said Chusy Jardine, the film’s director. Jardine was approached by Torres and Giants minority owner William Chang in December. Within three days, Jardine had started filming and Torres immediately began opening up about racism, self-esteem issues and his fight with ADHD.

“You could tell that he has been through hell,” Jardine said. “I asked him the first day why he wants to make this film, and through his tears, you could see the gratitude he has for the way everything has worked out.”

Aguada threw an impromptu parade the day its prodigal son returned, and Torres showed his appreciation by spending so much time with fans that his filming schedule was often altered. There were days when he signed autographs for local kids for up to four hours. The documentary, which will be released in English and Spanish, is tentatively scheduled to premier around the All-Star break and the Giants have already offered AT&T Park’s 103-foot wide high definition scoreboard as a screen for the first showing.

Torres said he hopes to be “playing my best when this (documentary) comes out,” and he’s spending extra time on the Scottsdale Stadium field to make sure that’s the case. The starters were all given a rest day earlier this week. But an hour after every other Giant had left, Torres was still in the batting cage, working to improve his eye-hand coordination.

“I’ll keep working this hard because I can’t take anything for granted,” Torres said. “I know this is a great opportunity.”

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