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Toni Talks about PT Today

MRSA and Football

Published October 15, 2013 3:36 PM by Toni Patt

While I was driving home this evening, a news report came on the radio. Some professional football players have been placed on the injured list because they developed MRSA. I had to chuckle at the reporter as he conveyed the gravity of the situation. His report implied these players were at risk of dying at any time.

MRSA, or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, is a well-known infection to healthcare professionals. It has been a problem for years and has become more prevalent as antibiotic use has increased. Infected patients are placed on isolation, require additional antibiotics and don't feel very well. In my experience, no one has died specifically from being infected with MRSA. This is the first time I've heard it discussed in the media.

According to the news, the players became infected through cuts on their hands. I find this curious as hand-washing is the first defense against most infective agents, MRSA included. This would have been a perfect opportunity to encourage the practice for prevention of infection. I heard nothing of the sort. Nor did I hear anything about its risk to the general public outside of a hospital. Nope, the big news was that some football players were infected.

I'm not surprised. This was an educational opportunity but inadequate information was provided. Right now, half the people on my caseload are on isolation due to MRSA. Who knows how much information their families received? It would have been nice if the information was put into perspective and context. Instead the report has probably generated misconceptions about MRSA, how it's contracted and what that means to those infected.

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Actually the CDC has MRSA prevention guidelines for athletes:

Dean Metz October 15, 2013 4:47 PM

Great point about the missed educational opportunity. When I was in New York City, MRSA was commonly picked up in locker rooms of gyms. Apparently the environment is perfect for it to thrive, which would make sense that a sports team would be at higher risk.

Dean Metz October 15, 2013 4:45 PM

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