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Summerhill gets one-year suspension for Adderall positive

Danny Summerhill in his cyclo-cross years
Danny Summerhill in his cyclo-cross years (Image credit: Dejan Smaic / SportifImages)

The Best Buddies Racing team announced it has temporarily dropped Danny Summerhill from its roster after the Colorado rider accepted a one-year suspension for failing to obtain the proper Therapeutic Use Exemption for Adderall, a medication used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Summerhill was due to race with the criterium specialist squad after a successful return to form in 2021 that saw him take second to L39ION's Tyler Williams at the Athens Twilight Criterium and second in the Springfield Criterium while riding as a guest of the team. He claimed his first win in Hapeville, Georgia last August. His positive test came after a second victory in the Hammerfest criterium in Birmingham, Alabama on August 14, 2021. 

He was notified of the result last September. 

New Best Buddies team director Thomas Craven expects to welcome Summerhill back to the team this September when his ban expires.

"The substance in question was for a prescription Danny had from his doctor prior to his coming out of retirement to join our team in 2021," Craven said. "Danny has since received a Therapeutic Use Exemption for this prescription. We look forward to seeing Danny back on the start line in September."

Summerhill, 33, has been an avid and successful racer since his teens, winning the national cyclo-cross title in the juniors in 2005 and the U23 title in 2009 and 2010. He raced on the road with the Chipotle Development team before signing with UnitedHealthcare in 2013. 

He raced with the Pro Continental team through 2017 when he resigned after being arraigned on May 30, 2017 on charges of 'disorderly conduct, discharging a weapon in a public place and reckless endangerment' after he was seen firing a gun into a hillside in a rural area outside Denver on February 21, 2017. Identified by his pro team kit, Summerhill admitted he was on a training ride in Deer Creek Canyon and "needed to vent before he got back to his vehicle."

Summerhill was also part of USA Cycling's men's team pursuit squad in 2019 in an attempt to earn Olympic qualification.

Summerhill says he started taking Adderall to treat his symptoms of ADD, which, when untreated, can lead to dysregulated behaviour, and were made worse with the stress of the pandemic and his father's Alzheimer's diagnosis in a statement provided by the team.

"In summer 2020, I felt my professional cycling career had ended. COVID-19 shut down races. Uncertainty filled the sport. And, after spending my entire adult life racing, I was burnt out," Summerhill wrote.

"I thought I'd hang up my bike and never look back, but after 11 months off I realized I wasn't ready to quit. I contacted Michael Hernandez and joined the Best Buddies for a few races as a guest rider. But, as some of you have noticed, I've been absent since September 2021.

"After winning in Birmingham, I was tested by USADA. The results came back positive. This issue and the ensuing conversation, however, has proved to be bigger than just me. I want to share my story to be as authentic as possible, while respecting the sport, my teammates, and the Best Buddies organization.

"The last two years have been difficult for all. Personally, during uncertainty and a pandemic, doctors diagnosed my dad with Alzheimer's. To handle the stress of my rental property business while caring for my dad, I sought help from my doctors and a therapist. With their guidance, I started taking an antidepressant along with an ADD medication.

"I never thought I'd share these intimate details. Context matters. I was diagnosed with ADD in 1995 and was prescribed Adderall. I avoided medication altogether for years given its stigma in professional sports. The weight of 2020, however, became too much. I sought help.

"As a guest rider, I thought I would only attend a handful of races. But I found my way back to the podium. Prior to re-entering the sport, I never thought to submit an application to USADA for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) I am a forgetful human with ADD; I made a mistake.

"I have received a prospective TUE, but have been suspended from official USAC events by USADA/WADA for 1 year. In the meantime, I will stand by and support the Best Buddies team & organization. I invite you all to learn more about the organization, to volunteer, and to have compassion for your own mental health struggles. Stay safe and I'll see you in September."

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.