What is MRSA?
MRSA is a form of "staph infection" caused when Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria, that is resistant to the Methicillin family of antibiotics, enters the body. These enter the body through cuts and abrasions and can lead to pneumonia, joint and blood-stream infections. MRSA usually appears, at first, as "spider bites" or small boils in the skin. If you experience any like the ones pictured here, consult a physician.
What can be done?
NATA, the National Athletic Trainers Association, recommends that athletes avoid sharing towels, razors, and daily athletic gear. Also strongly recommended is to clean and disinfect protective equipment such as helmets, shoulder pads, catcher's equipment and hockey goalie equipment on a regular basis.
Fresh Gear's Cyclone cleaning machine destroys harmful bacteria in sports equipment and helps prevent the spread of disease.
Bacterial infection found within sports equipment is a real danger. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA sites 5 ways in which bacteria and infections spread:
- CUTS & ABRASIONS
- CONTAMINATION of items and surfaces
- Lack of CLEANLINESS
What's growing in my gear?
Protective sports equipment worn by hockey, football and lacrosse players, are the ideal breeding ground for trouble. A strong odor is usually the result of a mixture of sweat, mucus, blood, dirt, and other substances, which create the perfect environment for bacteria, mold, and fungus to thrive in. Here is a sample of what is found in the typical sports gear:
- Staphylococcus Epidermis - Gloves, Elbow Pads, & Shoulder Pads
- Staphylococcus Aureus - Helmet - leads to pimples, boils and complicated skin infections
- Streptococcus Veridans - Shin Guards & Elbow Pads
- Streptococcus Faecalis - Hockey Jock / Jill - associated with stool and fecal material
- Environmental Bacteria
- Yeast - Normally found on skin surfaces and in the intestinal tracts
Is there a health risk?
Bacteria and surface molds can enter the body through cuts and abrasions, causing more severe infections. Some are agressive, long-lasting and can expand into other areas of the body. Remember the 5 ways (5 C's) for contracting infections mentioned above? Contact sports often involve crowding of people, skin contact, cuts, contamination of locker rooms and lack of cleanliness when it comes to protective gear (helmets, pads, gloves, etc).
Thus, athletes specifically need to be concerned and take action by cleaning their gear regularly.
Articles of Interest:
- Ryan Otten feared death after staph infection at the Senior Bowl
- MRSA Survivors Network
- MRSA Activists Unite Globally For World MRSA Day
- The silent epidemic: CA-MRSA and HA-MRSA
American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
- The Dirtiest Clean Places
- Police Officers Working Skid Row Diagnosed with MRSA
LA Downtown News Online
- Hygiene and early detection can reduce MRSA
Dr. Andrew T. Pennock
- Legal Action Against Schools, Hospitals over MRSA
UK Public Service
- MRSA Taking Its Toll on Professional Athletes
- CDC: Clean Athletic Gear to Avoid Serious Infections
- MRSA Prevention Tip: Clean Your Clothes
- Dr. Phil dedicates show to MRSA threat
- Staph Infections Cause More Deaths than AIDS
The Associated Press
- MayoClinic: MRSA Treatments and Symptoms
- MRSA: Treatment, Prevention
Center for Disease Control (CDC)