U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo said the Zika outbreak in Brazil could keep her out of the Summer Olympics in August.
“If I had to make the choice today, I wouldn’t go,” she declared to Sports Illustrated.
Stadiums in Manaus, Salvador, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, and Sáo Paulo will host the Olympic soccer games instead of those in Rio de Janeiro. They hosted games during the 2014 World Cup.
But those areas “have higher rates than Rio of mosquito-borne viruses like Zika, dengue, chikungunya and malaria.” The Brazilian government has advised women to delay pregnancy for up to two years due to the possible connection to microcephaly, a rare birth defect that occurs when the brain does not form properly during pregnancy.
“I would never take the risk of having an unhealthy child,” she said. “I don’t know when that day will come for Jerramy [Stevens, husband] and me, but I personally reserve my right to have a healthy baby. No athlete competing in Rio should be faced with this dilemma. Female professional athletes already face many different considerations and have to make choices that male professional athletes don’t.”
We accept these particular choices as part of being a woman, but I do not accept being forced into making the decision between competing for my country and sacrificing the potential health of a child, or staying home and giving up my dreams and goals as an athlete. Competing in the Olympics should be a safe environment for every athlete, male and female alike. Female athletes should not be forced to make a decision that could sacrifice the health of a child.
Two sources told Reuters that the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) recommended any athlete or trainer concerned about the Zika outbreak should consider not attending the Olympics.
Despite the name, the Summer Olympics will take place during winter in Brazil, so officials hope the cooler weather will kill the Aedes aegypti mosquito known to spread Zika and diminish the threat. Spring formally begins in September.
The Australian Olympic Committee encouraged its female athletes to educate themselves about Zika and “consider the risks of competing in the Rio Olympics due to the outbreak of Zika.”
“Any team members who are pregnant at the time of the Games need to consider the risks very carefully before deciding whether to proceed with travel to Brazil,” they said.
Brazil promised to fumigate and sterilize Olympic stadiums leading up to the games. The health workers plan to follow the same procedures every day during the Olympics.
Dr. Art Caplan of the NYU Langone Medical Center told Breitbart News Daily the Olympic committee should delay the games for at least six months.
“You’ve got this outbreak going on, and you’re going to expose hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, who go down there to attend the Olympics or participate in them,” he stated. “We don’t have a cure, we don’t have a vaccine, there is now a couple of cases that have been reported about transmission of the virus into the blood supply, we don’t have a good test for that… why would we be trying to run an Olympics in a country that is straining, anyway?”