Detroit Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez, who is a native of Caracas, Venezuela, has revealed that he contracted the Zika virus this past offseason and he is encouraging all athletes to research the dangers of the virus before heading to Brazil for the Summer Olympics.
Rodriguez talked to ESPN.com about his experience with Zika and emphasized that it was nothing to just brush off.
“It wasn’t a cold, trust me,” he said. “It wasn’t a cold. A cold, you have a sneeze, have a headache, take a couple Tylenol and you’re done. You don’t have a cold for two weeks, you don’t have a bodyache for two weeks, you don’t have headaches, throwing up, weaknesses for two weeks.”
With the 2016 Summer Olympics set to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August, many Olympic athletes have had the Zika virus on their minds. Rodriguez has some advice for any Olympic athlete that ever wants to have kids.
“I wouldn’t blame them,” Rodriguez told ESPN.com “If they have plans to have kids in the future, you’ve got to think about it. You have to be aware of that as well. You have to do some homework, some research about it.”
Rodriguez added that even after the virus was out of his system, he did not feel like himself for a couple of months, even into Spring Training with the Tigers.
The Tigers closer has seen first hand what the Zika virus is capable of doing and he urges everyone to be very careful moving forward, suggesting that it may not be something that is isolated.
“It’s something people have to be careful with and worry about,” Rodriguez said. “There’s no vaccine for it. It’s not like you take a shot and [improve]. … It could be global.”