It used to be said that cleanliness is next to godliness. In the case of athletes and the locker room that holds true. Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) comes in two forms HA-MRSA which is health facility based and CA-MRSA which is community based. In the world of sport we need to pay attention to the community based MRSA.
The main cause of all MRSA is the over prescribing of antibiotics. Even the proper use of antibiotics has lead to the increased resistance of bacteria. In sport settings there are five C's of risk. Contamination, lack of cleanliness, compromised skin, crowding and contact. 30% of all individuals are carriers of CA-MRSA which is why dealing with the 5C's is so important in the prevention of MRSA. Cleanliness of both the athletes, their equipment and the facility is pivotal in the early stages of prevention. Athletes should shower immediately after participation, soap and towels should never be shared. Paying attention to any type of open wound is imperative. All wounds must be cleaned properly and covered to avoid the chance of infection entering the body. Crowded locker rooms or dormitories increases the chance of infection spreading. If you are in charge of the locker room, use a cleaning solution of 1:100 bleach to water. The use of antimicrobial cleaners can also reduce the amount of bacteria on surfaces. Main areas that you need to be concerned with are the locker room, shower facilities, weight room, and any adjoining areas to the locker room. Contact of an infected person onto either training surfaces or other athletes either by direct or indirect contact start the transmission process. By having your athletes maintain proper levels of hygiene, cleaning their gear, and maintaining clean facilities will help decrease the chance of CA-MRSA being transmitted.
As a coach, parent, trainer or athlete it is key to pay attention to skin condition. If a wound is present it must be cleaned and covered before the athlete returns to participation in sport. If a wound does go untreated look for the following signs of infection. Hot, red and raised area around the wound is the standard signs for any infection. CA-MRSA will start as small red bumps similar to pimples and will develop into painful abscesses. Early intervention and treatment is essential to the athlete returning safely from CA-MRSA. If any athlete does have CA-MRSA the whole locker room must be thoroughly sanitized, this includes all hard and soft surfaces and all clothing.
Prevention of all injuries is important however the prevention of MRSA is even more important due to the long term dangerous health effects.
Rogers, Sharon. A Practical Approach to Preventing CA-MRSA Infections in the Athletic Setting, 2008 Human Kinetics - ATT 13(4), pp. 37-41