Elena Delle Donne of Washington said on Wednesday that she hoped that the denial of her medical exemption request this season due to the effects of Lyme disease on her immune system would not be influenced by her MVP status in WNBA title.
Delle Donne, 30, spoke on SportsCenter after also writing about her situation for The Players’ Tribune. She was asked if she thought her status as one of the most prominent players in the league had an effect on the panel of doctors – who was appointed by the league and the players’ union – regarding the decision.
“I’m not sure and I really hope not,” said Delle Donne. “I hope they will treat me as” Player X “and they will see that I have been treated for some nine years. They saw my blood flow; I submitted everything.
“So I really hope that’s not the reason why it happened. I hope the doctors just aren’t aware of Lyme disease and don’t have literate doctors on this panel, because I don’t want to believe that’s what happened. , maybe that’s what happened. ”
Delle Donne said she was on a diet where she took 64 pills a day.
“I know that taking so many drugs each day probably doesn’t have a big effect on my long-term health, but I love basketball,” said Delle Donne. “I found a protocol that sometimes works for me and allows me to play. But I think I will have to be much more open about my treatment, which I have been deprived of. Because medical things are not always open. But I think people deserve my honesty, and deserve to see the fight I’m going through just for a normal life, not to mention being on a basketball court. ”
The WNBA will play a 22-game regular season, which begins July 25 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Some stakeholders have disengaged from concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, while others have done so to focus on social justice concerns. Players were also able to request medical exemptions based on their risk factors if they were to contract a coronavirus. If players are considered medically exempt, they receive their full wages for the season.
“I considered her a high risk player,” said Breanna Stewart, Seattle MVP, when asked about Delle Donne’s situation on Wednesday. “I hope the league and Elena can find something where they shouldn’t be in an uncomfortable situation. ”
Phoenix forward Jessica Breland is a player who received an exemption – because she had Hodgkins lymphoma when she was in college in North Carolina ten years ago. Delle Donne’s Mystics teammate Tina Charles is also requesting a medical exemption, but it was not publicly announced if she did.
Delle Donne also had back surgery during the offseason for three herniated discs that she treated last season while leading the Mystics to the WNBA title. She said that her concerns about the coronavirus were a major factor in the way she lived her life for several months.
“For nine years now, I have suffered from Lyme disease and other co-infections that have destroyed my immune system, and I have been immunocompromised for years,” said Delle Donne. “When COVID first appeared, and I saw that if you are immunocompromised, you have to be very careful, I was.
“I went through the process with the league to submit all of my information. My doctor, who has been treating me for nine years, submitted a letter basically saying: It is not safe for her. So when I got the call that I was denied, I was completely shocked. I didn’t really understand, and now it’s almost like being asked to ignore the only doctor who heard me and cared for me, and who allows me to live a normal life with protocol and treatment that he has had me for years. ”
Delle Donne said she would continue to discuss the situation with his wife, Amanda, and would not take long to decide if she was going to play, now that she does not have medical exemption.
“Fortunately, I have the privilege of being able to make a decision, and I know that there are so many people through COVID who have lost their jobs, who are hungry, who cannot choose to go to work or not, “said Delle Donne. “I’m now in a position where, thank God … it’s never easy when you lose a full salary, including endorsements, if I don’t play.
“But I’m in a position where we can understand it; we will find a way to pass if my decision is not to go play. So we will see what happens. Maybe it’s good; maybe it’s an awakening for me to talk more about Lyme disease, to fight for people who have been ignored for years, just like me. “