Over the past few weeks, we have heard and read stories about MRSA outbreaks occurring in both professional athletes as well as on the high school and collegiate levels. Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about the Buccaneers‘ kicker Lawrence Tynes and offensive guard, Carl Nicks both being treated for this incredibly resistant superbug. There was a college student from LIU who was being treated for MRSA earlier this month and we’ve also heard of outbreaks among high school football players in two different states. Yet we don’t intend to incite panic of any kind: in reality, it’s quite the opposite.
We know by now that it’s not all that shocking to hear MRSA and football players or football players and MRSA outbreaks in the same sentence. After all, MRSA outbreaks are far more common in high contact sports. We see this in other contact sports as well including hockey, wrestling and lacrosse. MRSA feeds on cuts and wounds and sports like football, hockey and wrestling breed them. It’s a perfect match, but it doesn’t have to be a destined match. The truth is that it’s far more likely that these types of MRSA outbreaks or MRSA football outbreaks are related to the general hygiene regimens of the players. This is in no way insinuating that football players are not hygienic people, as that’s obviously ridiculous. However, the nature of their sport allows very little opportunity to maintain consistent cleanliness or consistent disinfecting practices. Football practices, scrimmages and games are long and filled with sweat, dirt and blood.
There is really good news however, and infectious skin diseases like MRSA and Staph can be very effectively prevented by simply getting into the habit of some good time saving and health improving habits. Since it’s football season, if every football player practiced the these techniques, the risk of MRSA outbreaks in football would be considerably less. So in essence, it’s not like MRSA is hanging around the locker room and field waiting viciously to attack everyone and everything it sees, but if it there is a perfect opportunity with a football player who already has an exposed wound or injury, but doesn’t immediately or properly care for it, the chances that it can find a host are considerably higher.
Below are some tips to help keep both MRSA outbreaks in schools and well as football MRSA outbreaks at bay:
- Shower immediately after practice or games
- NEVER share football pads, football helmets, cleats or uniforms: even if you think they are clean or clean enough as dirty football helmets, dirty football pads and dirty football uniforms are almost a given
- Try to soak football equipment in Clear Gear Disinfectant Sports Spray before washing to kill invisible germs, viruses and bacteria
- Wash hands frequently and get in the habit of “fist bumping” rather than shaking hands with other players
- Always live by the assumption that it probably needs to be cleaned before wearing or touching. This should go for hands, shoes, socks, football gear and football equipment
- NEVER touch another player’s injury, cut or wound. This can save both of you the risk of contracting something nasty
- Use Clear Gear Disinfectant Sports Spray on your football clothing and gear: even a cautionary spray after washing can ease the mind
With nearly 23,000 people dying from drug resistant bacteria every year, it never hurts to be cautious. As we always say, prevention is always the best medicine.