Venus Williams Discusses Sjogren’s Syndrome on GMA [Video]

by Tom Gainey | September 1st, 2011, 12:17 pm

In a shocking announcement yesterday, Venus Williams disclosed that she has been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome.

“I’m really disappointed to have to withdraw from this year’s US Open. I have been recently diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease which is an ongoing medical condition that affects my energy level and causes fatigue and joint pain,” Venus said in a statement.

“I enjoyed playing my first match here and wish I could continue but right now I am unable to. I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon.”

Today, Venus made a visit to ABC’s Good Morning America where the 7-time Grand Slam winner opened up about the affliction which forced her to withdraw from the US Open.

“It’s a huge relief because as an athlete everything is physical for me — everything is being fit and being in shape,” she told Elizabeth Vargas. “I think the best thing that could have happened for me this summer was to feel worse so I could feel better.”

Venus said that she feels relieved to finally know why she’s had issues with low energy, joint pain and swelling. Venus plans to take up the cause and bring awareness to Sjogren’s Syndrome which impacts over four million people.

“Sjogren’s is something you live with your whole life,” Williams said. “The good news for me is now I know what’s happening after spending years not knowing… I feel like I can get better and move on.”

Venus, who has only played four events this season, will undergo treatment for the next four to six months and she plans on returning to tennis full time.

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5 Comments for Venus Williams Discusses Sjogren’s Syndrome on GMA [Video]

Cynthia Vargas Says:

I am so sorry for your diagnoses. I understand what youare going through, my child suffered from simuliar syptoms. She was dianoses with juvenile fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.The more people come out and acknowledge these invisible disease are real the more people will believe.My daughter has been suffering since she was in 4th grade and things just got worse and worse. The worsed was in the 6th grade when it started keeping her out of school.My daughter was finally dignosed in 2008.Venus maybe you can help,my daughter loves sports and PE.Her favorite sport to play is Volleyball.She misses school quite often ,in nher district they only allow so many days of school and then you get no PE credit for Hichscool.Whenshe is there she wors very hard and gets A’s even with her condition,she is a fighter. You understand what I mean, it takes alot from you. Could you please help campagne to change this rule for all Kids that suffrer from these chronic pain and debilitating ilnesses, so theyare not punnished for being sick. My daughter wants the chance to be just like everyone else.As for now there is not much understanding of what causes Fibromyalgia or is there a cure.Iam hopefull that some day soon there is.

alison hodge Says:

good luck to venus i wish you a speedy recovery,this will hopefully raise awareness for the condition,just as serena is on the mend,this happens to her sister,i know some people dont care for the williams sisters,but no one can deny they are such fighters on and of a tennis court.

Tiffany Anderson Says:

Thank you so much for being brave enough to take the stand for your health and I’m very sorry you have to go through this. I used to swim competitively and I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease and Primary Ovarian Insufficiency many years ago and I understand some of the physical challenges you. Having you take care of yourself first is a great reminder to all of us suffering from autoimmune disease to do just that. Thank you again, and I wish you the best of luck in coming to terms with your new normal.

Anna Says:

I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s been obvious that Venus has been in pain (excruciating pain) in many of her matches this year, and it was hard to watch her try to compete. I hope her therapy is
successful and she’s back on the court winning next year.

Paula Says:

I feel very bad for you because having sjogrens myself I know there is no “recovery”. It is a terrible disease that just gets worse with time. Each symptom requires a different doctor, luckily you will have the best available. Good luck to you, the hardest part will be accepting what you are no longer able to do.

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