The professional cleaning staff at Aftermath Inc. understands that injuries are a part of any athletic endeavor. No athlete wants to sit out a game because they are injured, but it's even worse to be sidelined because of a preventable illness. The rise of preventable MRSA in locker rooms across America is proving to be just such an illness.
What is MRSA?
The Mayo Clinic defines Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) as an infection caused by a strain of staph bacteria that's become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections. Most of the MRSA infections occur in healthcare settings like hospitals, nursing homes, or specialty care centers such as dialysis treatment clinics.
There is also another version of MRSA infection that occurs in the wider community and infects otherwise healthy people. This type of MRSA begins as painful skin boils and is spread by skin-to-skin contact. It is this kind of MRSA that is infecting clubhouses and locker rooms across America.
MRSA can be deadly, as evidenced by statistics from PEW Health Initiatives. The infection is responsible for at least 11,000 U.S. deaths and 80,000 invasive infections per year. MRSA is easily transmitted and can be passed from simple skin-to-skin contact like a handshake or by coming in contact with a surface that has been infected by MRSA. The infection can spread like wildfire if surfaces are untreated. A single case can infect thousands.
When the Major League Baseball (MLB) season opened up earlier this year, the Philadelphia Phillies announced that infielder Freddy Galvis will begin the season on the Disabled List (DL) due to a staph infection in his leg. Sources within the club report that Galvis is also being tested for MRSA.
In October 2013, the Tampa Buccaneers had two players forced out of action when they contracted MRSA, and were looking into the possibility of another having the illness.
"We have been involved in an ongoing review of the MRSA incidents in Tampa Bay, initiated by the concerns we had about the manner in which team officials responded to these cases," said NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.
In 2003, Ben Taylor, a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, received a run of the mill cut during a game. The next morning, during a team meeting, he felt what he thought were flu-like symptoms, which quickly escalated to a 102 degree temperature. Tests showed Taylor had MRSA. Worse, it had gotten into his blood and infected the elbow's bursa sac.
"They had to essentially slice my elbow open. They took out my bursa sac, got all the infection out, and left it open for two days," Taylor told the Tampa Bay Times. "Then they went back in, did the entire thing again and stitched it up."
These cases of MRSA are among the many that have been reported in the media. However, they are by no means the only ones. The secrecy that professional sports teams invoke around the health of their players has hidden cases of MRSA from the public.
In 2009, former Cleveland Browns receiver Joe Jurevicius sued the team and the Cleveland Clinic. He claimed the team misrepresented the cleanliness of its training facility. He also accused team doctors of negligence over a staph infection in his right knee that kept him from playing last year.
“Too often, teams try to hide the extent of their MRSA problem,” says an Aftermath Inc. representative. “While we of course believe in the value of maintaining professional confidentiality, our concern is that too much secrecy can lead to exposure of others to this serious health issue.”
Students at Risk
Professional athletes are not the only ones that have been infected. In 2008, two deaths brought home the reality of MRSA and the potential repercussions for amateur athletes. As reported on MRSATopic.com, a Texas high school football player and a Los Angeles high school wrestler passed away that year from complications attributed to MRSA.
According to Aftermath Inc., the rise of MRSA cases in otherwise healthy people “suggests the bacteria is adapting or growing more lethal.”
“The only way to lessen the number of cases is to attack the source of the condition,” their experts say.
As Aftermath Inc. explains, removing the MRSA virus from a locker room or clubhouse requires a specialized type of cleaning. The company must have the professional training, biohazard processes, and protective equipment in place in order to execute a comprehensive disinfection of potentially affected spaces.
A simple cleaning with regular household products will not get rid of MRSA. Trained professional biohazard cleaners are needed to stop the spread of the virus and insure no new cases break out. Disinfection of the area is often the best solution and requires specialized training and knowledge of how pathogens are spread.
In most cases, all porous materials such as carpets and any cloth furniture are removed and destroyed. After that is finished all dust, dirt, and debris is removed from the walls and floor of the infected space and common areas. Then a three-step biowash process is administered to effectively clean and disinfect the space to full safety.
Eliminating the threat of MRSA requires daily attention to the cleanliness of a clubhouse or locker room. When an infection does occur, it is critical to begin a sterilization cleaning immediately. The biohazard professionals at Aftermath Inc. know that time can make the difference in eliminating the threat and preventing it from spreading.