With nearly half a million NCAA athletes competing across 23 different sports, the NCAA has quite the large task at hand ensuring that competition on all levels is fair, safe, and ultimately fun for participants. As more stories of MRSA being contracted by athletes have popped up around the nation, the NCAA takes many precautionary steps to ensure that all participants are educated on the risks and identifying symptoms of MRSA and other skin infections that can be spread in the locker room, weight room, training center, or even during game play. The education initiative that the NCAA has implemented involves keeping players informed about things like wound treatment, personal hygiene, and sharing items like practice gear or towels.
What many athletes are unaware of is that nearly 1/3 of the population is carrying staph bacteria in our noses, but are unaffected by it. For those that don’t carry the bacteria, contracting it can cause infection to spread. One of the easiest places for MRSA to enter a body is through a cut, scrape, or abrasion that breaks the skin. In most NCAA sports, a cut or scrape is quite common. One of the NCAA’s initiatives to fight against MRSA is displayed in the above poster. Ensuring that athletes immediately seek training staff to cover a wound will not only provide protection for the athlete from possibly contracting a skin infection, but will also allow the wound to heal properly.
Personal hygiene is a very important aspect to preventing the spread of MRSA and other skin infections throughout a sports program. Since many schools have shared facilities, it becomes even more vital for all NCAA athletes to be conscious of hygiene-related decisions and how they could affect themselves or others. Washing hands after workouts, training sessions, and practices will prevent against the spread of germs, and showering following practices and games will help remove any germs that may have been transferred to your body by contact. Programs should be providing clean towels, uniforms, and practice apparel to athletes in all sports. Properly laundering clothing and towels will help prevent any infections that may be transferred to a material from spreading to others.
One of the most important initiatives that the NCAA has developed in partnership with the CDC is encouraging athletes to regularly inspect their body for abnormal growths, sores, redness, or swelling, and immediately report any finding to coaching and training staff. Being able to treat MRSA and other staph related infections at an early stage can be the difference between sitting out a week of the season, or missing the entire season or longer.
As the NCAA continues the push to educate college athletes about the signs, symptoms, and preventative measures they need to be aware of to reduce the risk of MRSA, college programs around the nation are stepping up things on their end as well. Programs like Arizona State University, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Missouri, and the University of Maryland have chosen Clear Gear Sports Spray to provide another line of defense from MRSA for their athletes. Clear Gear Sports Spray is used throughout professional and collegiate sports to clean and disinfect sports equipment, pads, mats, training tools, helmets, weights, training tables, and more. The simplicity of Clear Gear allows users to spray and walk away while the active ingredients in the product get to work. Clear Gear Sports Spray has fungicidal, disinfectant, deodorizing, cleaning, and virucidal abilities, all packing into one product. Learn more about Clear Gear and how to get a bottle of your own here.