Danny Summerhill opens up about antidepressant and Adderall use following USADA suspension

Best Buddies Racing guest rider and former Team USA track racer tells about personal struggles, and a way forward when his suspension is over.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Following his win at the 2021 USA Crits Round 6, in Birmingham, Alabama, Danny Summerhill tested positive for antidepressants and the ADD medication, Adderall.

Summerhill had not been granted a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) with USADA or WADA for the prescription medications, and he was banned from racing for one year.

Also read: Olivia Ray removed from Human Powered Health roster

Guest racing for Best Buddies Racing, Summerhill earned a handful of podium results in 2021, including the Central Park Crit, Modern Market Crit, both in Colorado, and also the Athens Orthopedic Clinic Twilight Crit in Georgia.

In an Instagram post Tuesday, Summerhill opened up about his personal struggles with racing during the COVID shutdown and the subsequent seasons, his father’s Alzheimer’s disease, his use of prescription ADD medication for a long struggle with ADD, and his plans for returning to racing.

“In summer 2020, I thought my professional cycling career was over. COVID-19 shut down races. Uncertainty filled the sport. And, after spending my entire adult life training & racing, I was burnt out.

“I thought I’d hang up my bike & never look back, but after 11 months away I realized I wasn’t ready to quit. I reached out to Michael Hernandez & joined the Best Buddies team for a few races as a guest rider. But, as some of you have noticed, I’ve been absent since Sept 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 myself. So I want to share my story & be as authentic as possible, while respecting the sport, my teammates, and the Best Buddies organization.

“The last 2 years have been difficult for everyone. For me, personally, during uncertainty & a pandemic, my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. To manage the stress of my own rental property business & caring for a disabled parent, I sought help from my doctors and therapist. With their professional guidance, I started taking an antidepressant in conjunction with Adderall, an ADD medication.

“I never thought I’d share these intimate details, but context matters. I was diagnosed with ADD in 1995 & was prescribed Adderall, but I avoided medication altogether for years due to how stigmatized it is in professional sports. However, the weight of 2020 felt like too much, so I sought help.

“Because I was a guest rider, I thought I was only going to be invited to a handful of races. Prior to reentering the sport, I never thought to submit an application with USADA for permission to use my new medication and get a Therapeutic Use Exemption. I am a human (and a forgetful human with ADD at that) and I made a mistake.

“I have been granted a TUE moving forward, but I 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.”

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.