Pokémon GO buzz draws hundreds to local parks, brings safety concerns


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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The newest and biggest game craze is gaining popularity among thousands of Hoosiers. Pokémon GO is drawing hundreds of players to local parks and downtown locations.

As more people join in on the fun, there's growing security, safety and health concerns.

Doctors are warning players to pay more attention to their actual surroundings, instead of their virtual ones.

“When the first wave of interest comes across, there’s going to be a lot more people doing this, so there’s probably going to be a lot more people having some sort of injuries associated with it and I’m expecting that we will probably see some injuries with the Pokémon and walking," said Dr. Rebecca Dixon, Chief Pediatric Hospitalist at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

Law enforcement officials are also asking people to not "drive and Pokémon." Many gamers FOX59 spoke with said you can play the game while driving around, but usually have someone else driving for them.

Hot spots like The White River State Park and Indianapolis Children's Museum are drawing large crowds to try to catch Pokémon and engage in virtual battles at the "gyms." There are also "Poké stops" at various points of interest where trainers can get a few goodies for stopping by.

The app encourages people to get out and walk and explore their communities.

“It’s a lot of fun. It gets us out of the house so we get to explore different places," said Ashley Glover.

For young adults, the resurgence of a favorite childhood game is all the reason to pick up their phone and check out the app.

“It’s awesome. It’s a dream come true," said Sergio Briceno. “It was a big craze when I was 9 and 10. The cards came out and the video games came out, so I was really into it.”

Briceno and his co-worker Michael Young explored some of the hot spots around the Indianapolis Children's Museum, where there are plenty of Poké stops. Young said after hearing about a teen finding a dead body while playing the game and a group of teens robbed in St. Louis when they were lured to a location through the app, he's more cautious of his surroundings.

“That is definitely something that is on my mind as I walk around, obviously traffic is something look out for, but yes, definitely getting jumped by people is something I would be worried about," said Young.

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