A Game of Dirty Basketball

Marquette vs. Saint Louis

Marquette vs. Saint Louis

There’s nothing like an impromptu game of B-ball to bring out your inner competitor. Not to mention the insane amount of excitement involved in a tense game of college basketball or a professional game thrown into overtime at the buzzer. Set aside all the buzz and excitement for a minute and you’re left with some sobering realities involving basketball and germs that can lead to some potentially dangerous viruses and infections.

A study completed this past year focused on basketballs (volleyballs, as well), gym floors and player’s hands. Each variable was treated with a Germicidal Ultraviolet “C” (UVC) light used for sterilization and the basketball player’s hands were treated with an antibacterial soap. Next, the players were exposed to Staphylococcus aureus found on all three surfaces (ball, floor, hands). They passed the basketball back and forth to simulate a real game and sure enough, S. aureus showed up on all three surfaces. To make matters worse, it lived for up to 72 hours in dormancy.

So what does all this indicate? Well, for starters, we see that the average virus and bacteria treatments just don’t cut it anymore. We also know that bacteria like Staphylococcus and MRSA are incredibly tough and resilient to most preventive treatments as well as most antibiotics. It shows us just how easy it would be to contract a very serious illness by playing a seemingly harmless game of basketball.

A practical solution is to treat basketballs, hands and gym floors with a disinfectant that is tougher than the bacteria like Clear Gear Sports Spray. We can also wash our hands regularly and use be sure to clean our equipment and gear faithfully after each practice, game or match. Always keep in mind that the best medicine is prevention.

NBA all-star Grant Hill knows the realities of MRSA too well when he contracted the superbug while in the hospital following ankle surgery. Hill said he wasn’t even aware that he had it until he came down with a 105 degree fever. When he arrived at the ER and doctor’s cut his cast off he said, “From my knee down, my whole leg was black and red.” He adds that he thought for sure he was going to die. An aggressive antibiotic treatment killed the MRSA, but since the incident, Hill has down whatever he can to raise awareness about the illness that almost ended not only his career, but his life.