Athletes prepare and train their entire lives to make it to the professional level in their sport. Hours and hours of practices, thousands of reps in the weight room, and long nights studying playbooks and game tape are all a part of the journey to the highest level. For those that make it, there are no guarantees that they will remain at that level. Poor performance, injury, or a better player in their position can all cut the dream of professional sports short. Rarely do we hear about an athlete who has their career cut short due to an illness, but 32 year old New York Giants tight end Daniel Fells, is currently fighting a battle against MRSA that not only may have cost him his NFL career, but may also cost him his foot.
Fells trouble first began in late September, when he sustained an ankle injury, for which he received a cortisone shot. By October 2nd, Fells was in a New Jersey emergency room with a fever of 104. After doctors examined Fells ankle, they found that MRSA had set in. Attempting to save Daniel’s foot, doctors performed five different surgeries over the first week that he was in the hospital. The goal of these surgeries was to prevent the MRSA infection from spreading to the bone, where it can then enter the bloodstream, which can possibly cause fatal results.
As of November 5th, Fells has had eight different surgeries. Scans and cultures done to the infected foot are providing positive results that will hopefully allow doctors to spare Fells’ foot from amputation. Reports indicate that the MRSA infection had spread to Daniel’s lungs, but is currently under control and the infection has not returned. With a few more procedures scheduled to ensure that the infected bone in his foot is healing properly and the rest of the infection site remains cleaned out and healthy, Fells will be on the long road to recovery, with hopes that he will be able to suit up again for the New York Giants.
MRSA is not new to the NFL. Players on teams like the Cleveland Browns, the Washington Redskins, and the Saint Louis Rams have all reported suffering from a MRSA infection, but were treated early and prevented the infection from having catastrophic results like what Daniel Fells experienced. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently facing litigation from former kicker Lawrence Tynes, who, along with 2 other members of the team, contracted MRSA at the team’s facilities. Tynes is claiming that the infection has ended his career and that he has lost out on over $20 million in anticipated earnings.
Because of the nature of football, staph infections are a common occurrence thanks in part to the close skin-to-skin contact that can transfer infection from a host to another player. Football players regularly suffer from cuts, scrapes, and abrasions like turf burn that leave them susceptible to an infection being able to easily enter the body. Especially at the college and professional level, teams often share the same training facilities as well as medical facilities like training tables and whirlpools. Without proper care and preventative measures, staph infection can be easily spread in these environments that are ripe for bacterial growth.
Reducing the risk of MRSA and other related staph infections is not as difficult as one may think, and usually revolves around the practice of good hygiene. Following physical activity like games, practices, or workouts, it’s important for players to shower with anti-microbial liquid soap to remove any infections that may have ended up on the skin from contact with equipment, surfaces, or other players. Avoid sharing towels, soap, and clothing that may have been exposed to other’s bodily fluids. Ensure that all equipment and surfaces that players are exposed to is disinfected and cleaned after every use. Clear Gear Sports Spray is the perfect, fast-acting sports equipment disinfectant that kills hundreds of harmful bacteria, ranging from MRSA to Influenza to Herpes. The EPA approved spray is simple to use, just spray it onto equipment that has been exposed to bodily fluids, and let it dry. Not only will Clear Gear prevent bacterial growth, but it will also prevent odors from developing in equipment.