Hey NFL Physicians Society, WAKE UP!
Ok, maybe that’s too harsh of a title to use, but read the rest of the article and then let’s decide. I recently read an article talking about the serious issue affecting the NFL. The article talks about how the NFL Physicians Society has sent several newsletters and memos to the league, reminding them to “remain vigilant” about trying to prevent MRSA infections. Players like The Tampa Bay Buccaneer guard, Carl Nicks and place kicker Lawrence Tynes are fighting MRSA, a potentially life threatening staph infection resistant to most antibiotics.
One of the reasons this has become a problem seemingly more prevalent in the sports world, is because these athletes are extremely sweaty. They are in close contact with each other on the field and in the locker room, sweating on the turf, equipment, towels and a ball that they pass from one person to the next. Then there are the mouth guards. Continuously taken in and out of their mouth with their hands or dropped on the ground. Yuck!
So what does the NFL Physicians Society suggest these athletes do to prevent this increased risk of infection? “Hand washing and good hygiene.” That’s the best advice they offer. And while suggesting hand washing and good hygiene is better than nothing at all, I think there has to be more that can be done.
It’s the year 2013, we know more about the spread of infection than say, 50 years ago. What kind of technology or science can we utilize to help these sweaty athletes stay healthy? One example I can think of is to utilize UVC light that we know is proven to kill germs. Have the players place those mouth guards and towels, etc. into a UV Flash that can disinfect in 60 seconds.
I’m sure a lot of you reading this also know a thing or two about infection prevention practices and have a few ideas yourself. The issue of infection not only lies in the NFL player’s locker room. We have to remember it’s rampant in the real world too and that’s an even bigger problem. Maybe the NFL needs to become a role model for hospitals and medical facilities!
I’m not saying hand washing doesn’t help limit the transfer of bacteria but if it was working so well, we wouldn’t be having such an epidemic. Other than hand washing, what would you suggest the NFL do to prevent the spread of infection? Who knows, maybe next year’s NFL Health and Safety Report will feature your idea as a new standard practice.