Big name athletes pull out of the Olympics over Zika concerns

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Summer Olympics kick off in less than two weeks, but some of the big name athletes won’t be there.

They pulled out over concerns about the Zika virus. Some people seem to be convinced the virus has made going to the Olympics too dangerous.

The Brazilian government and Olympics officials have insisted the games will be safe.

Jason Day, the top-ranked golfer in the world, said, “You know, with what’s going on with Brazil and the Zika virus, it’s a small chance it could happen and I just can’t put my family through that especially with the future children we’re looking at having. My wife wants four kids.”

He’s one of at least 10 athletes who have pulled out of the games over concerns about the virus. Former UT golfer Jordan Spieth cited health concerns when he pulled out of the games, but never specifically mentioned Zika.

Doctor Coburn Allen is an infectious disease specialist with Dell Children’s Medical Center. “If I had tickets to go to Brazil right now, I’d go in a heartbeat.”

“The estimates are that about one in a million travelers to Brazil are gonna get infected with Zika virus. So, it’s very low. The odds are, honestly I think, equal to people living in the united states right now.”

There is one complication from Zika that Doctor Allen says could be a concern for athletes. It’s called Gullain-Barre syndrome. It affects your nervous system and can cause you to lose coordination.”

The CDC says about 1 out of every 100,000 people with Zika get it, but none of the golfers who pulled out cited that as a concern.

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