Jul 14, 2020 - Sports

Elena Delle Donne says WNBA denied her medical opt-out request

Delle Donne.
Elena Delle Donne. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Elena Delle Donne's request to be medically excused from the WNBA season was denied, the league's reigning MVP said Monday night.

Why it matters: Delle Donne, who has had Lyme disease since 2008, says the decision by the WNBA's independent panel of doctors is at odds with the advice she received from her personal physician.

What they're saying:

  • Delle Donne's doctor told her that she's at high risk for contracting and having complications from COVID-19.
  • But the WNBA's doctors deemed her not to be high risk and advised that she should be permitted to play in the bubble.
  • For reference: Lyme disease is not included on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's list of underlying conditions that could put someone at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

The state of play: Had Delle Donne been medically excused, she would have earned her full salary for the season. Now, if she chooses not to play, the defending champion Washington Mystics wouldn't have to pay her.

"I know doctors don't always agree with each other and that there are different opinions on certain things within the medical community, and now I have a player who is in an incredibly difficult situation because of the way things lined up."
ā€” Erin Kane, Delle Donne's agent
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