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Elena Delle Donne expresses guilt about not speaking up more on Lyme Disease in Players’ Tribune column

The Washington Mystics forward wrote a column regarding where she is at this point on whether to play in the 2020 WNBA seaosn.

2019 WNBA Finals - Game Four
Elena Delle Donne indicated that she regrets not speaking up earlier about her Lyme Disease condition.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

On Wednesday, Washington Mystics forward and 2019 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne wrote a column on The Players’ Tribune. It is titled “An Open Letter About My Health” where she goes in detail about her battle with Lyme Disease which she had for over 10 years.

The most startling fact is that she takes 64 pills a day because of it. Delle Donne acknowledges that this isn’t good for her and feels that it may be “slowly killing me.”

Beyond the 64 pills Delle Donne takes, she also expressed guilt about not using her platform enough to communicate about the risks Lyme Disease has on her health. Here is a snippet that Delle Donne said regarding her position on the coronavirus and how it could affect her.

I’ve been told time and time again over the years that my condition makes me immunocompromised — that part of what Lyme does is it debilitates my immune system. I’ve had a common cold that sent my immune system spiraling into a serious relapse. I’ve relapsed off of a simple flu shot. There’s just been so many instances where I’ve contracted something that shouldn’t have been that big of a deal, but it blew my immune system out and turned into something scary.

Elena, I don’t know how often you read Bullets Forever. But I think that you know we cover the Mystics regularly. Let me take this time to say that we want you to make sure that you think about your health and safety before anything else.

I get that I specifically am accused, perhaps rightfully so that I praise some other player whose first name starts with the letter “E” and ends with the letter “A” more than you.

But really, I know you’ve been the face of the Mystics since you came here in 2017. And you truly were THE FINAL PIECE to make the Mystics a championship contender the last several years. I mean it.

I don’t think you have to feel guilty about not being more vocal about having Lyme Disease. Ultimately, these things are a personal matter. And it’s been well-known that you had this for over a decade. Sure, we know you were able to become a two-time WNBA MVP despite having the virus, but we also understand that it may — and does — take a lot of medication to get there.

Regarding your current situation, Mystics fans, including me have your back. We certainly wished that this independent board would have given you a medical exemption, because it was the right thing to do. Though it is quite possible that you may not play for Washington this season, we’ll be ready to support you each and every game once the coronavirus is behind us, hopefully with more championship hardware in the seasons yet to come.

Again, health and safety come first. But you will always be an MVP for us on and off the court!