O2? Oh, no.

02You can eat bananas and drink sports drinks to prevent cramping. You can take pain killers for an injury. If you are Serena, you can even order an espresso to be brought on the court to perk you up in the morning. But if you have a lung condition, it appears you canNOT have oxygen available on the change overs.

Winder Bill’s Story

Top-level national 65s player Winder Bill, has a degenerative (and terminal) lung disease (Interstitial Lung Disease), which robs him of oxygen on the court. He and his partner Will Rogers were up in the semis a set and a break (6-4, 2-1) against the team that ended up winning the gold ball at the 65 indoors in Minneapolis recently when he lost focus, footwork, and eyesight clarity. They then lost 11 straight games.

He asked my opinion of whether he could have supplemental oxygen on the court in future tournaments; and I thought for all the reasons in the opening paragraph, he could… but suggested he contact the next tournament director.

When he posed the question, the reply was this ruling from Friend at Court:

FAC Comment III.E-2: A player who receives an injection (other than an insulin injection), IV infusion, or supplemental oxygen during a rest period shall be defaulted. However, there is no penalty for these actions during a suspension of play in which the Referee allows the players to leave the tournament area.

Winder’s comment is: “I do get that allowing me to use oxygen at changeovers could open Pandora’s box – if I can, then others can and then people not using oxygen may feel they are at a disadvantage and all of a sudden you have 60 players rolling out 60 oxygen tanks. Even requiring a physician’s certification of need could be fiddled and what TD wants to be making medical judgments? Oh well, I have had 20 years of national tournament tennis. I will still follow it with enthusiasm. It is a great game!”

Not fair??? Winder has sent an appeal to the USTA; so let’s hope he gets relief … and his oxygen.

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4 thoughts on “O2? Oh, no.

  1. Hi guys , I hope that Mr Winder wins his appeal , oxygen has been considered a drug for many years, but I believe it could definitely be an exception. The USTA is trying to grow the game and I don’t know if they ever really reviewed the oxygen on court lately. I hope he considered a medical time out . I can’t see any player being happy about beating someone that needed oxygen.
    To George you definitely have a gift for bringing up interesting and very legitimate topics.

    OhioJack – thanks. i hope he wins too! george

  2. I have watched Bill play at a few events these last two years. A really nice player and guy. So Winder, I hope and pray that one way or another we keep you out there with us for many a year. You deserve to stay on court as long as you want.

    God Bless you,

    Patrick Swafford

  3. I have known Winder for some years. He lives to play the game. Him getting O2 is really no big deal. He needs it to keep playing, not as a “pick-me-up!!”

  4. I am in favor of Winders relief off court if the powers that be are so ridged they will not allow medical relief for a verifiable disease. Winder has always exhibited the utmost respect for the rules and others in a sport where GENTLEMEN have not always displayed the same amount of class. This inane discrimination should be viewed as unnecessary for such a TENNIS LOVING GUY!

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