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The NFL (National Football League) was thrust in the media spotlight last week when one of the league’s teams the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was faced with a very serious MRSA outbreak in there facilities. Two players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carl Nicks and Lawrence Tynes have contracted  MRSA infections that could leave them benched for several weeks. Lawrence Tynes who is the team’s kicker had to have surgery to remove the MRSA infection from his foot. While doctors say that both are responding well to treatment; it will still be a awhile before they and other team members are completely out of the woods.

What is MRSA?

A picture of a MRSA infection taken by the CDC. How to prevent MRSA
A picture of a MRSA infection taken by the CDC.

MRSA develops from a Staph bacteria that become resistant to antibiotic treatment. Infections that are resistant to antibiotics can be very dangerous, painful, and even cause death in some cases. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) goes to great lengths to make the public aware of the danger of MRSA, how it can be spread, prevented, and treated.

How Did Carl Nicks and Lawrence Tynes of The NFL Get MRSA?

This is a great question. There are actually several ways that football players and other athletes can contract MRSA. The CDC outlines the 5 C’s as the 5 most common ways MRSA is spread among humans.

THE 5 C’S OF MRSA TRANSMISSION

  1. Crowding
  2. Contact
  3. Compromised skin (even minor cuts, scrapes, turf burns, or open blisters)
  4. Contaminated items and surfaces (towels, band aids, tissues)
  5. Lack of Cleanliness

Any one of these factors can spread MRSA, but where more than one of the 5 C’s are present, there is a high risk for the existence of MRSA bacteria. Sports like football combine all of the 5 C’s and are thus very high risk situations for contracting MRSA. It is no surprise that the MRSA had already spread to another teammate before it was caught. Our blog has lots of information about MRSA and football. For further reading see the following:

We Can Help Prevent Staph and MRSA Outbreaks In Athletic Facilities

After Carl Nicks and Lawrence Tynes were diagnosed with MRSA, the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacted by chemically bombing all of the facilities where the MRSA could have been transmitted. This could  have included areas like the field, the locker rooms, restrooms, showers, gyms, and more. Chemicals can effectively get rid of MRSA bacteria, but are also harsh and poisonous to humans. Using chemicals to rid surfaces of MRSA is difficult and must be done with precision to make sure that the bacteria has actually been removed. In fact, the Buccaneers plan on chemically bombing the facilities again this weekend when the team is out-of-town just to be sure the bacteria is stopped from spreading. It is possible for the bacteria that causes MRSA to live on surfaces and other hard to reach places for days. All in all, chemicals may not be the best solution when it comes to dealing with MRSA.

So what other options are available besides chemicals? Germicidal UVC Technology is a better solution to prevent or kill the MRSA bacteria. One big advantage of using UVC light for killing MRSA is that it is 100% safe for humans leaves no residue and does not harm or alter anything the light comes in contact with, besides Staph or MRSA bacteria. UVC light works by concentrating a certain wavelength of ultra-violet light on surfaces, which then attacks the nucleus of the bacteria and destroys the DNA and its chances to multiply.  For a full breakdown of how UVC technology works, see UVC Technology: History and Explanations. In our opinion, why use toxic chemicals when there is a safer, more cost-effective solution available?  A recent Press Release we did highlights how some teams are being proactive: Sports Turf Northwest Announces Two NFL Teams Have Incorporated the GreenZapr™ UVC Synthetic Turf Sterilization Machine into Their Bacteria and Virus-Fighting Arsenals

Germicidal UVC Equipment for MRSA Prevention

Germicidal UVC equipment like the GreenZapr and MiniZapr are already being used by professional sports teams and sports facilities around the country. Sports Turf Northwest is a strong advocate for facilities to have a precautionary sterilization plan in place before Staph and MRSA outbreaks occur.   Want to know more? Call Sports Turf Northwest to see how our equipment can benefit your sports facility.

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