MRSA in Athletics – An NFL Players’ Story

The Senior Bowl is around the corner and former San Jose State football star and current NFL tight end Ryan Otten is particularly aware of the dangers these infections can cause. Otten contracted a staph infection while preparing for last year’s NFL Combine. Otten became so sick from his staph infection at last year’s Senior Bowl that he thought he was going to die. Otten was hospitalized for several days and was required to go back to the hospital every day for weeks to receive intravenous antibiotic treatment. “If I can help keep just one young athlete from going through what I went through then that’s huge. It’s about being smart and being aware that these issues are real and you can help protect yourself.”

The dangers of MRSA, Staph, Strep and related bacteria have been well known in the health care industry for years. The elderly and those with severely weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of contracting these dangerous skin infections and, for years, these infections have wreaked havoc on hospitalized patients.

More recently, however, MRSA rates have increased in persons outside of health care facilities, affecting athletes and the physically active. These strains of “athletically acquired” Staph or MRSA infections commonly develop from person-to-person contact; shared towels, razors and soaps; and improperly disinfected whirlpools and sports equipment.

This year alone, several major colleges and scores of high school athletic programs were plagued with widespread outbreaks of Staph, Strep and even MRSA. These infections have even impacted sports at the professional level with several members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being diagnosed with MRSA.

Otten has teamed up with Clear Gear Sports Spray to help get his message out to athletes in all sports. In addition to sound personal hygiene habits, the proper cleaning of sports equipment and facilities is paramount.

When used to treat athletic equipment and facilities, Clear Gear Sports Spray kills a broad spectrum of dangerous bacteria and viruses including MRSA, Staph, Strep and Influenza. Clear Gear Sports Spray also kills the dangerous fungi that cause Ringworm and Athletes Foot. An additional benefit of using Clear Gear is that it eliminates equipment odors by killing odor causing bacteria, effectively removing odors the source.

“The thing that I love about Clear Gear is how simple it is. You just spray down your gear after a workout and let it dry.” Clear Gear Gear Sports Spray is available at all Dick’s Sporting Goods stores or online at and is easy to implement in your personal protection program this season.

Outbreaks of dangerous infections are now commonly found in schools, sports facilities, gyms and locker rooms making it critical that physically active adults and children take appropriate precautions if suspicious skin infections appear, and immediately contact their physician.

Maintaining good hygiene is critical in the prevention of these infections. The National Athletic Trainers Association and the Centers for Disease Control recommend several easy and effective ways to help fight the spread of infection in athletes.

– Keep hands clean

– Shower immediately following activity

– Avoid whirlpools or common tubs

– Avoid sharing towels and razors

– Properly wash towels, disinfect athletic gear, and clean wrestling mats after each use

– Maintain properly cleaned and disinfected facilities and equipment

– Seek proper first aid for all active skin lesions and irritations

– Care and cover skin lesions appropriately before participation


Image via Tireball Sports