A British Olympic athlete is freezing his sperm before heading to Rio due to Zika risk

British long jumper Greg Rutherford is headed to Rio de Janiero, Brazil, for the upcoming Olympic games. But first, he’s freezing his sperm over concerns about the Zika virus.

Rutherford’s partner Susie Verrill wrote in Standard Issue that the athlete — who was dubbed ‘that ginger bloke with the big smile’ after winning gold at the London Olympics — decided to attend the games, despite the risk of Zika transmission.

The virus has been proven to cause birth defects and has also been linked to temporary paralysis in adults. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Zika can be transmitted sexually from an infected male to his partner.

That’s why, Verrill wrote, Rutherford decided to freeze a sample of his sperm before heading to Brazil.

“The Zika news has caused no end of concern if we’re totally honest. We’re not ones to worry unnecessarily, but after more than 100 medical experts stressed the Games should be moved to prevent the disease from spreading, this was a huge factor in us choosing to stay put,” Verrill wrote.

“We’d love to have more children and with research in its infancy, I wouldn’t want to put myself in a situation which could have been prevented. Specialists still also don’t know the ins and outs of Zika, so even though it looks as though there’s no real issues should [our son] Milo get bitten, it’s just another thing we don’t want to chance.”

A number of athletes and media personalities have been bowing out of attending the Rio Olympics.

Just yesterday, pregnant “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie announced that she will be missing the games. American cyclist Tejay van Garderen and Fijian golfer Vijay Singh have also said they will be skipping the Olympics.

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