According to a research study, there was a 17% increase of MRSA cases that included adult and pediatric patients during a 3-year period at the University of Miami Hospital. MRSA (otherwise known as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus) is an antibiotic-resistant skin infection or "super bug." MRSA skin infections are hard to spot, often misdiagnosed as heat rash, razor burn, spider bites, ingrown hair or pimples. It is incredibly serious as a MRSA skin infection can be a life-threatening illness or cause limbs to be amputated. Learn and read about a wrestler who nearly lost his leg to MRSA.
According to the CDC, antibiotic drug resistance in the U.S. costs an estimated $20 billion a year in healthcare costs as well as 8 million additional days spent in the hospital. And hospital-acquired infections are among the top five leading causes of death in the United States and account for up to $11 billion in healthcare spending each year.
To aid in the prevention of MRSA, the sports medicine team should:
- Clean treatment and taping tables, along with any other equipment used, daily with a cleanser that kills HIV, Hepatitis B and C, MRSA (staph) and other viruses including strep and fungi
- Not permit the sharing of towels in the athletic training room, and trying best to prevent it on the sidelines. Towels are to be washed daily in hot water and bleach
- Require a towel be used between hot packs and the athletes if the hot pack covers cannot be washed daily
- Cover all open wounds and utilizing universal precautions (i.e. wearing gloves, use of red bags/double bagging all blood and other bodily fluids.)
- Wash hands or use antimicrobial hand sanitizer after direct contact with any athlete
- Sanitize water bottle lids daily and coolers weekly
Thanks to a well-orchestrated offensive strike by Athletic Trainers, physicians, and disease specialists at the University of Southern California (USC), a once-rampant bacterial infection among USC football players in 2003-2004 was contained. See how USC took infection control measures.