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American Academy of Dermatology Research Shows Athletes Susceptible to Antibiotic-Resistant Staph Infections
Date:6/23/2008

dely reported contact sport linking MRSA infections to athletes is football. In fact, football players experience a variety of factors predisposing them to MRSA infections. These include skin injuries that can occur during play, turf burns from artificial turf that can exacerbate skin trauma, and even an athlete's ingrown toenail can lead to a MRSA infection.

One prominent study conducted during the 2003 football season of members of the St. Louis Rams professional football team found eight occurrences of MRSA infection among five of the 58 Rams players -- or 9 percent of the team. Dr. Adams pointed out that all of the lesions occurred on areas of the skin not covered by clothing or equipment where players had suffered turf burns. The players that experienced the infections were more likely to have a higher body mass index and play the lineman or linebacker position.

"Considering all factors, the authors of the St. Louis Rams study concluded that frequent antibiotic use, compromised skin barriers, skin contact between players, close proximity of teammates, and inadequate hand and personal hygiene by trainers and athletes may have contributed to the team's MRSA outbreak," said Dr. Adams. "In addition, infections found in players from an opposing team suggested that transmission may have occurred during play."

Other studies of high school and college football players concluded that shared facilities were likely responsible for MRSA transmission. In each instance, the main risk factor included more than 10 cuts, abrasions or turf burns. One study found that whirlpool use greater than or equal to two times per week increased the risk of MRSA infection in players with covered lesions; in another study a member of the high school dance team developed MRSA infection -- with the only link to the football team involving the use of a shared weight room where the dance team changed into their uniforms before football games.

Rugby is another sport th
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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