UPDATED 7/15, 1:25 p.m. ET: Elena Delle Donne wrote an open letter in The Players' Tribune, in which she expresssed her disappointment over the WNBA's decision.
''It hurts a lot. And maybe being hurt just makes me naive,'' she wrote. ''And I know that, as athletes, we're not really supposed to talk about our feelings. But feelings are pretty much all I have left right now. I don't have NBA player money. I don't have the desire to go to war with the league on this. And I can't appeal.''
See original story below.
Washington Mystics star and reigning WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne told ESPN Monday that the league's panel of physicians have denied her request to opt out of the 2020 season due to medical concerns. "The independent panel of doctors the league appointed to review high-risk cases have advised that I'm not high risk, and should be permitted to play in the bubble," Delle Donne said in a statement.
Their determination conflicts with the advice Delle Donne received from her own personal physician, who has been helping in her 12-year battle with Lyme disease. "I love my team, and we had an unbelievable season last year, and I want to play! But the question is whether or not the WNBA bubble is safe for me," she said. "My personal physician who has treated me for Lyme disease for years advised me that I'm at high risk for contracting and having complications from COVID-19."
ESPN reports the WNBA's panel of three physicians are complying with CDC guidelines when evaluating high-risk cases, and since Lyme disease doesn't fall under the category of underlying conditions, this is where the conflict lies. Delle Donne's agent Erin Kane told ESPN that her client is in "disbelief" over the panel's decision, and while their conclusion is final and cannot be appealed, she may still choose to opt out.
"I'm thinking things over, talking to my doctor and my wife, and look forward to sharing what I ultimately plan to do very soon," Delle Donne said.