All General Discussion concerning WTA and ATP
American Madison Brengle is suing the Women's Tennis Association and the International Tennis Federation for injuries she alleges were caused by repeated anti-doping tests.
A medical condition that meant Brengle, 28, reacted badly to needle injections was ignored, says her lawyer.
Brengle has permanent swelling and weakness in her serving arm and hand and had to withdraw from tournaments.
The world number 83 is likely to seek more than $10m (£7m) in damages.
"Tennis authorities ignored evidence of her professionally-diagnosed condition and refused to provide alternative testing or a medical accommodation," said lawyer Peter Ginsberg.
Brengle, who has won over $2.1m (£1.5m) in prize money, said: "I am bringing this action in an effort to force those who control the sport I love to understand that players are not commodities and should be treated with respect and dignity.
"The unbridled authority of officials to subject players to the kind of abuse I suffered cannot be tolerated; players must have a say in matters involving our health and safety."
BBC Sport has contacted both the WTA and ITF for comment.
When this is over, there will be a new rule about those testings.#ed_op#br#ed_cl#If a player cannot tolerate needles, then she can't compete in WTA until new means of testing for drugs are implemented by WADA. Otherwise, many will use this as a reason to avoid the drug testing.#ed_op#br#ed_cl#Pretty simple in my book.
Last edited by Ace2Ace on Apr Tue 10, 2018 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Not enough information here yet, but if the "professionally-diagnosed" condition is something #ed_op#br#ed_cl#recognized in general by the medical boards, then the question is if they refused to provide #ed_op#br#ed_cl#alternative testing was the refusal because they could not or because they simply didn't want to? #ed_op#br#ed_cl##ed_op#br#ed_cl#Many more questions to be asked and answers needed.
Last edited by Pyotr on Apr Tue 10, 2018 5:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The whole point here should be to see everything clearly. Thus an investigation to see if#ed_op#br#ed_cl#Brengle's claim holds any water and to see if the WTA/ITF behaved in anyway outside#ed_op#br#ed_cl#of the parameters of their own rules or out of line with what is deemed to be common #ed_op#br#ed_cl#practice when it comes to handling of players.#ed_op#br#ed_cl##ed_op#br#ed_cl##ed_op#br#ed_cl#Brengle's claim of having provided evidence and believing alternative testing/medical accommodation #ed_op#br#ed_cl#could have been supplied is interesting. Interesting in that it suggests that such things could have been #ed_op#br#ed_cl#supplied. It's why I asked if the WTA/ITF couldn't have supplied the alternative because such ability #ed_op#br#ed_cl#of testing for all they test for could not be applied in Brengle's case or that it could have, but the #ed_op#br#ed_cl#WTA/ITF simply didn't want to do it. #ed_op#br#ed_cl##ed_op#br#ed_cl#Peter Ginsberg(Brengle's lawyer):#ed_op#br#ed_cl#
#ed_op#br#ed_cl##ed_op#br#ed_cl#I await to see the WTA/ITF's response.
WTA, ITF, are private entities.
They'll tell the potential contractors (the players) what method they use to conduct their testing. If a player can't accept that method, she cannot play their tournaments until they implement new methods.
They should and will make that clear, as a result of this matter.
American professional tennis player Madison Brengle sued the WTA and International Tennis Federation in Florida state court on Monday, seeking unspecified damages for "physical and emotional consequences" related to anti-doping blood tests that involve inserting a needle into a vein.
"She is not disputing that there should be an anti-doping program. She does not dispute that players should be available to have tests administered. But it has to be done in a medically appropriate manner," Brengle's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, said in a telephone interview after the suit was filed.
"And it has to be done in a way which takes into consideration not only those who manage professional tennis, but also those who play tennis," Ginsberg said. "It's a system totally dominated by the authorities, without any input from the players and without any consideration for the players."
The defendants also include the ITF's Stuart Miller; International Doping Tests and Management (IDTM), a Swedish company that administers drug tests for the ITF; and IDTM doping control officer John Snowball.
Spokespeople for the WTA and ITF did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit says the defendants knew and ignored that Brengle "suffers from a rare medically diagnosed physical condition which results in both temporary and permanent physical injury, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering from having a needle inserted into her vein."
It adds: "Brengle no longer has normal strength in her arm and endures post-trauma injuries that cause both physical and emotional damage."
The suit cites Wimbledon in 2009, and the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 2016 as tournaments where the testing was problematic.
Brengle also says her reaction to the testing has caused her to miss tournaments.
"She can give blood. She just can't tolerate the needle in her vein. She could give blood via a pin prick in her finger. She will submit to a urinalysis," Ginsberg said. "She's not trying to avoid being tested. She's trying to avoid having a needle being stuck in her veins."
Brengle, who turned 28 this month, was ranked as high as 35th in singles and is currently 83rd.
Her biggest career victory came over Serena Williams at Auckland, New Zealand, in January 2017. Brengle also beat two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova at the All England Club last year.
Born in Delaware and now based in Florida, Brengle has earned more than $2 million in career prize money.
Last edited by Grossefavourite on Apr Fri 13, 2018 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Her career earnings is $2 millions. But she wants $10 millions? I like her boobs but no.
It's not WADA's faults if she is allergic to needle. The first time their was a problem, she should have been told she can no longer give blood per WADA's current selected method, so she can't be tested. That's like some 12-year wanting to play in the WTA Main Draw. She will be told simply NO. WTA/WADA have rules.
If Brengle can't be tested by their standard, she can't play. Had WADA/WTA been very clear on this, Brengle would have no case to take to court.
Last edited by Ace2Ace on Apr Wed 11, 2018 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Translation, Brengle is a tennis nobody, so who cares, right?
I'm giving both Brengle and the WTA/ITF the benefit of the doubt here. If Brengle
has documented evidence that can be verified their is a case there. Also, for the
WTA/ITF with the limited knowledge I have seem to make medical accommodations
for players whenever possible.
I'm assuming the response coming is slow as the WTA/ITF is doing a preliminary
investigation of the claim to see if what Brengle has said holds any merit that
they themselves can find within their own records.
#ed_op#br#ed_cl##ed_op#br#ed_cl#How so? She's claiming injury, not that she feels something was tampered with. #ed_op#br#ed_cl#She seems to be talking of the method of test taking, not the test results themselves.#ed_op#br#ed_cl##ed_op#/span#ed_cl#
Madison Brengle Sues I.T.F. and WTA Over Injury FromDANIEL ISLAND, S.C.
— The tennis player Madison Brengle filed a lawsuit in Manatee County, Fla., circuit court on Monday afternoon against the Women’s Tennis Association and the International Tennis Federation, seeking damages for battery, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from blood-testing procedures that she said permanently damaged her right arm.
The lawsuit also named International Doping Tests and Management, a Swedish company that administers tests for the I.T.F.; Stuart Miller, who is in charge of the I.T.F.’s antidoping program; and John Snowball, a doping control officer for I.D.T.M.
Brengle, 28, said the defendants acted with disregard for her well-being by subjecting her to vein-penetrating blood drawings for antidoping tests, despite her having a medical condition that causes extreme pain when a needle is inserted into her arm.
The I.T.F. said in a statement that the federation was aware of Brengle’s accusations, but had not yet been served with the lawsuit and would not comment on it. The WTA did not respond to a request for comment.
The pain from three mandatory blood tests before Grand Slam events in 2016 has lingered, Brengle said, leaving her with damage to her right arm that has affected her serve.
Months after the last of her 2016 drug tests, Brengle was found to have complex regional pain syndrome induced by venipuncture.
In a statement, Brengle’s lawyer, Peter R. Ginsberg, said his client had endured “prolonged mistreatment at the hands of the giants in women’s professional tennis” and filed the suit “seeking protection from their abusive administration of the antidoping program.”
According to the complaint, Brengle is seeking damages in excess of $10 million. She has won $2.2 million in prize money during her career.
In an interview last week before her lawsuit was filed, Brengle said that intense reactions to venipuncture have been an issue in her family for generations. She said that when her grandmother was in a coma after suffering a stroke, she screamed when a nurse inserted a needle into her arm.
She said she did not have issues with immunizations or other injections until she had intravenous sedation when having her wisdom teeth removed at 17.
“It felt like my arm was getting cut off,” she said. “I’m screaming in pain, because I wasn’t expecting that.”
“It’s lightning, it’s acid pouring into your skin,” she said of the pain.
Brengle had her first antidoping blood test at the Wimbledon qualifying tournament in 2009. She said that the phlebotomist missed the vein in her left arm twice, and that her vein collapsed on the third try.
“I hit the floor,” Brengle said. “I passed out from the pain.”
She was not given another blood test until 2016, before the Australian Open. Worried that the swelling and pain would leave her unable to play in the tournament, where she had reached the fourth round the year before, Brengle had the test moved up several days. She recovered and reached the third round before losing to the eventual champion Angelique Kerber.
Brengle said she had a panic attack before her next test at Wimbledon, but thought it might be better if the blood was drawn from her foot.
“I still fully didn’t understand my condition,” she said. “And I was so desperate to be O.K.”
Brengle said that when she had “a very visible panic attack,” Snowball suggested the testers “put a blindfold on her.”
“To a person who is having a panic attack, to threaten to blindfold them, that’s like Guantánamo Bay stuff,” Brengle said through tears.
Rather than showing sympathy, she said, antidoping authorities have responded with threats to punish her for uncooperative behavior.
After the blood was drawn, Brengle’s right foot badly swelled and bruised, which she documented with photos. Her next blood test, at the United States Open, caused such swelling in her arm that she was forced to retire from her first-round match. Her hand still swells and burns, she said, and she cannot feel her middle, ring or pinkie fingers.
“This is the test my body never recovered from,” Brengle said. “This is the one that changed my career, changed my life, more than you can know.”
Later that fall, Brengle was given a diagnosis of C.R.P.S. Though her suit contends that the defendants were “knowing and ignoring that she suffers from a rare medically-diagnosed physical condition,” it does not seem that she underwent any blood tests after her diagnosis, which was verified by an I.T.F.-picked doctor.
In Brengle’s complaint she said she received an agreement from Miller last August on behalf of the I.T.F. and antidoping agencies to give her “a one-year conditional exemption from venipuncture blood testing after years of Brengle’s pleas and requests.”
Brengle wants to extend that exemption for the remainder of her career. In the closing of the complaint she filed Monday, Brengle seeks “entry of a Permanent Injunction restraining Defendants from performing and threatening to perform a venipuncture blood test” on her.
Brengle’s serve was never a primary weapon for her, but it has gotten much weaker of late.
According to Tennis Abstract, from the start of the 2015 until the 2016 U.S. Open, Brengle hit at least one ace in 48 of 72 tracked matches (66.6 percent) and won less than 50 percent of first-serve points only 10 times (13.9 percent). Since then, she has hit an ace in just 8 of 61 tracked matches (13.1 percent) and has won less than 50 percent of first serves 17 times (27.9 percent). Her serve speed has also dipped.
She has kept her ranking inside the top 100, but she has never re-entered the top 50, where she was ranked before the 2016 U.S. Open.
Despite her diminished serve and preoccupying pain, Brengle, a clever counterpuncher, has managed several upset victories since her diagnosis. In January of last year, she beat Serena Williams on a windswept day in Auckland. Six months later, Brengle defeated Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon, where Kvitova is a two-time champion.
“The doctors, they kept asking me: ‘How do you still play professional tennis?” Brengle said. “They don’t see a professional athlete with this disease, because it should shut you down.”
Before the lawsuit was filed, Miller would not comment on Brengle’s specific circumstances. He said some modifications were allowed in testing to make it more comfortable, including narrower needles or having the athlete lie down instead of sitting upright.
“The questions are always: what can you do to alleviate the burden of any issues a player may have while still having them comply with their obligations as a tennis player to comply with the antidoping program?” Miller said.
Brengle said she suggested alternative methods, including a suction device that pulls blood from capillaries through the skin, but Miller said that only blood from the veins had been validated for sample collection.
Blood tests have increased steadily in recent years in tennis in part because of the sport’s biological passport program, which seeks to establish baseline levels for athletes that can be tracked over time.
“You can’t have a robust antidoping program without collecting blood samples, because they provide additional detection methodologies that urine samples alone won’t,” Miller said..”
In 2013, the Serbian player Viktor Troicki was given an 18-month ban, which was later educed to 12 months, for declining a blood test at a tournament. Troicki said that he thought he could return to give the blood sample the next day without penalty.
Brengle, currently ranked 83rd, said that if she were ever forced to undergo another vein-puncturing blood test, she would retire from the sport instead.
“It would break my heart, but my health is too important,” she said.
Last edited by Grossefavourite on Apr Fri 13, 2018 1:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Given this information I think it is clear Brengle has some type of case,
given what the WTA/ITF have already allowed, what they already knew
about her condition, and the fact that they have yet to make any concrete
rules on testing procedure. Also, Brengle is aware and accepts that this
could end her career admitting her health is indeed more important.