Originally printed in Athletic Management magazine
By now, everyone in the athletics world has heard of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This highly infectious super bug cannot be killed by many traditional antibiotics, making it more dangerous than ordinary staph infections. With more than 200,000 MRSA cases reported annually in the U.S., athletic programs can no longer afford to ignore this microscopic menace.
There are several reasons why competitive athletes, particularly in contact sports like football, are at heightened risk for infection. Football players frequently suffer skin abrasions, providing many opportunities for bacteria to enter the body–especially if wounds are left uncovered. In the locker room, players can spread MRSA bacteria by sharing towels, razors, soap, or other toiletries.
Padding is another key risk area. Used equipment provides a moist, dark, warm environment that’s perfect for pathogens to thrive in. Players who put on the same pads practice after practice and game after game may be exposing themselves to large amounts of harmful bacteria.
To help keep athletes safe from infection, equipment cleaning has become a top priority for athletic programs across the country. And thanks to advances in technology, it is now possible to sanitize equipment more effectively than ever before.
At the forefront of this effort is equipment manufacturer Riddell and its Staph FighterTM product line. The flagship of this line is a unique equipment sanitizing system called Sports-O-Zone. This innovative machine takes infection fighting into the 21st century with state-of-the-art ozone technology.
No other cleaning method works like Sports-O-Zone. The system uses ozone gas molecules in a 14- to 18-minute sanitizing cycle to kill bacteria, viruses, and mold on helmets, shoulder pads, and all other types of equipment. The gas gets deep into the padding and kills staph germs from the inside out, disinfecting much more effectively than traditional bleach- or iodine-based methods. It’s environmentally friendly and leaves no residue behind — only a fresh, clean spring rain smell.
All these teams and athletic programs are already enjoying the benefits of Sports-O-Zone:
St. Louis Rams
New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers
Michigan Tech University
United States Military Academy
State University of New York College at Cortland
Ohio State University
Creekview High School, Texas
Wise County Public Schools, Va.
There is no “silver bullet” that can guarantee your program never experiences a MRSA outbreak. That’s why a proactive approach to risk management is essential. Sports-O-Zone, which has been proven in lab tests to kill 99.9 percent of MRSA and staph bacteria, can play an important role in keeping your athletes safe.
© 2007 Athletic Management. All Rights Reserved.