A National Alliance for Youth Sports resource helping coaches, parents and administrators provide the best youth sports experiences for children.
Helping your young athlete steer clear of MRSA
Former NFL kicker Lawrence Tynes, owner of two Super Bowl rings with the New York Giants, has filed a lawsuit accusing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of ending his career because of a MRSA infection he picked up there in 2013.
“I’m reminded every morning when I step out of bed on my feet that I had MRSA,” Tynes told the Tampa Bay Times. “It hurts every morning. It hurts every day. I have a constant reminder on a daily basis.”
MRSA – Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – is a type of bacterial infection resistant to common antibiotics such as penicillin. These staph bacteria most often cause minor skin infections in young athletes, but if unnoticed and untreated may invade the bloodstream and become a life-threatening infection.
HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS, HIGHLY DANGEROUS
MRSA is highly contagious and easily spread through direct physical contact with an infected person, making it a growing concern for parents whose children play sports.
MRSA infections occur in athletes because the bacteria can spread via skin-to-skin contact or through sharing athletic equipment or even towels. Poor hygiene, such as skipping hand-washing before and after sports, can also contribute to MRSA, as can injuries that allow the bacteria to enter the skin. The MRSA bacteria can creep into the body through any open cut or wound, causing an infection.
MRSA infections often develop from person-to-person contact and usually appear first as pimples, pustules and boils. They can be red, swollen, painful or have pus or other drainage, and they are often mistaken as insect bites in the early stages.
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) official statement recommends the following precautions be taken:
►Keep hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and warm water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer routinely.
►Encourage immediate showering following activity.
►Avoid whirlpools or common tubs. Individuals with open wounds, scrapes or scratches can easily infect others in this environment.
►Avoid sharing towels, razors and daily athletic gear.
►Properly wash athletic gear and towels after each use.
►Maintain clean facilities and equipment.
►Inform or refer to appropriate health care personnel for all active skin lesions and lesions that do not respond to initial therapy.
►Administer or seek proper first aid.
►Encourage health care personnel to seek bacterial cultures to establish a diagnosis.
►Care and cover skin lesions appropriately before participation.
For more information on MRSA from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention click HERE.
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The Press Box is a weekly e-newsletter bringing you the latest news stories in youth sports, research on youth athlete safety and wellness, and more. Stories are carefully curated to bring subscribers only the best quality content and news.