Let’s look at the W’s of risk assessment for MRSA in a sports team. I do not care what the sport is. I do not care what level you play at. There may be some exceptions, where you are dealing with a professional sports team, but apart from that all these rules apply.
Who? Is the most likely to contract MRSA. Not just be colonized but have the infection under the skin and be sick from it. Let’s consider a team of 15; you can adjust the numbers according to the sport you coach. You have a squad of 30 players allowing for 15 playing 5 substitutes and 10 also-rans. When you truthfully analyze the team you will find 12 who are fully fit and able to carry their place in the team. There are another 6 who are close, but do not show their full potential all the time. There are 6 who are there to make up the numbers – whose dad or mom was in the team, or they put money into the running of the team. Those that are left are about 6, and they are struggling to get into the team. They want it with all their hearts. You can see their desire to impress. You can see they are totally exhausted at the end of training. These are the guys who are so weakened by the practice sessions that they become susceptible to MRSA.
What are you looking for? Sharing hygiene items and clothing. Even sharing towels can spread the disease. Look into the turf you are playing on especially when it is synthetic as there is no cutting away of old growth and replacement of contaminated grass.
When? All the time. There is no time when you can let down your guard when the team is together. It doesn’t matter if it is a training session, a full match, or simply a social event the coach must look out for every one of his players. Even the best in the team could weaken and become susceptible to a full-blown MRSA infection.
Where? At home and away. Listen for any news items on MRSA at any of the places where the team is going to play. It may be a once-in a year game that causes infection for one of your players because there has already been an outbreak at this venue and it was not treated carefully enough.
The coach bears the heaviest responsibility but it is up to everyone cleaners, groundskeepers and players to look after each other and prevent MRSA.
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