It’s not just the line-backer glaring at you across the line of scrimmage that you have to worry about hitting you. There may be a bigger hitter coming to all football teams in the near future! MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is sidelining more football players than NFL hall of famer “Mean” Joe Greene in his prime.
Perhaps we can make a suggestion to the recent Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology winner Wen Chyan. Consider coating NFL players’ gear with your new hydrogel composite polymer to reduce MRSA transmission, and that may bring in more than the $100K grand prize from Siemens. When you consider the financial loss associated with the sidelining of Tom Brady, Joe Jurevicius, Peyton Manning and Kellen Winslow due to MRSA, $100K is pocket change (if you’re reading Wen, a finders fee of 10% would be fine!).
From a press release by Molnlycke Health Care, maker of skin cleansers and other infection related products:
“All of us in the sports medicine profession know that protecting our players from infections such as staph or MRSA are priorities,” said Dean Kleinschmidt, coordinator of athletic medicine/athletic trainer for the Detroit Lions. “To do this, many of us have started very strict facility cleaning procedures and provided our players with educational materials and workshops that show them how they can also prevent it.”
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) recently posted information to its web site about staph infections and MRSA provided by NFLPA Medical Director Dr. Thom Mayer. This includes how players can lower their chances of contracting staph such as:
— Players need to have effective hygiene with equipment, which means wiping down a training bench or table.
— Make sure the trainer uses a germicidal foam and wipes down the table between players.
— Showering following whirlpool treatments.
— The single most important thing for prevention is hand-washing with soap and water, or if MRSA is known to be present, with chlorhexidene (Hibiclens).
In addition to several other measures aimed at reducing the risk of infection, cleansers with chlorhexidene gluconate (CHG) have been recommended by medical organizations to be used prior to surgeries as a bathing agent, specifically 4 percent CHG since it is more effective than iodine or plain soap. The Centers for Disease Control also recommends that hospitals require patients to shower or bathe with an antiseptic agent at least the night before the operative day.
“Cleansers with 4 percent CHG cleanse the skin, but also add a barrier for hours of protection,” said Jack Doornbos, executive director, Molnlycke Health Care, maker of Hibiclens(R) skin cleanser. “CHG has been used in hospitals and operating rooms for decades to prevent the spread of infection. But now, with MRSA and other resistant infections becoming more common in the community and sports, it’s been even more important to add protection, while not leaving a residue that affects sports performance.”
Infection risk can be even higher among amateur and recreation-level athletes. This is due to the fact that many athletes at an amateur level don’t shower immediately after activities. For them, washing with a CHG product such as Hibiclens, especially the hands and arms, before an activity can dramatically reduce the risk of infection.