ASF International / Awful experience
I signed a contract to participate in Ju-jitsu with local gym. My knee became tender after exercise and then I suffered a separated shoulder a month later while rolling. The shoulder took 16 weeks to heal. I visited the doctor to find out why the minor separation was slow to heal; I was diagnosed with hypermobility (frequent knee dislocation, winged scapula, double-jointed). He recommended that I cease further strenuous activity on my knees to avoid any long-term debilitating complications due to my genetic hyperelasticity. The doctor wrote a note on official letterhead listing that the patient has 'chronic knee problem' and further stated explicitly that this prevents engagement in martial arts (among other activities). ASF rejected the doctor's note on the grounds that 'chronic' is not the same as 'permanent disability'.
The contract that I signed with my local gym does not stipulate that 'permanent disability' needs to be explicitly stated on the note, but rather any injury that bars the student from fulfilling his/her contractual obligation to use the facility to his/her fullest extent during the length of the contract. I am quoting the terms of the contract, because ASF is known for its quick “read the contract" remark on complaintsboard:
'In the event student becomes permanently disabled and/or injured during the membership term, he/she may cancel the contract upon notice to the school of such disability and/or injury. For the purposes of this agreement, 'PERMANENT DISABILITY AND/OR INJURY' shall be DEFINED as any disability and/or injury that PREVENTS the student from utilizing the school's services to the SAME EXTENT as was possible PRIOR TO THE ONSET of the disability and/or injury for the entire duration of the contractual term herein. Student must provide notice from a licensed [sic] medical doctor confirming that the disability or injury is permanent for purposes [sic] of this agreement.'
The doctor I spoke with informed me that writing 'PERMANENTLY DISABLED' carries severe implications with regards to insurance premiums. This is probably why ASF requests this to cancel any contract as a result of a long-term injury (although, again, this requirement is not stated explicitly on the contract). I am in my mid 20s and besides the soft knees and highly flexible scapula, am in excellent shape, at least internally. I don't know many people who are aware of future consequences that continue to practice an activity that will worsen the problem later on down the road.
I called ASF and spoke with two managers, the first of whom was quite curt and unhelpful. The second manager whom I spoke with, Danielle V., was slightly more understanding but unwavering of ASF's 'policies' (which again aren't even stated verbatim on the contract). She further insulted me by stating that my condition is like her type I diabetes, which she noted as 'chronic', but categorized it as a 'disease'. Unfortunately a chronic knee condition, whose symptoms cannot be cured, mitigated, or even deferred, but only worsen, is not the same as diabetes, which is treatable by an insulin shot. This condition forced me to stop playing high school football at the age of 16 as it was awful during puberty (unprovoked knee dislocations every few days). Honestly, I have no intention of living through that hell of random knee dislocations and several days of swelling just for a little bit of exercise. I would prefer to stick with a low-impact elliptical machine for exercise, which does not elicit similar symptoms that I began to see gradually evolve through my short stint with the gym.
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