Information and Advice about MRSA for:
Coaches & Athletic Directors
Refer athletes to: Information & Advice for Athletes
Promote and Encourage the
- Practice good personal hygiene.
- Take care of your skin.
- Do not share items that come into contact with your skin.
- Take precautions with common surfaces and equipment.
What To Do if You Think an Athlete Has MRSA
- Refer athletes with possible infections to a healthcare provider such as team physician, athletic trainer, school nurse, or primary care doctor.
- If the athlete is less than 18 years old, notify parents/guardians of the athlete with the possible infection.
- Educate athletes on ways to prevent spreading the infection.
- Using the criteria above, consider excluding the athlete from participation until evaluated by a healthcare provider.
Excluding Athletes with MRSA Infections from Participation
- If sport-specific rules do not exist, in general, athletes should be excluded if wounds cannot be properly covered during participation.
- The term "properly covered" means that the skin infection is covered by a securely attached bandage or dressing that will contain all drainage and will remain intact throughout the activity. If wounds can be properly covered, good hygiene measures should be stressed to the athlete such as performing hand hygiene before and after changing bandages and throwing used bandages in the trash.
- A healthcare provider might exclude an athlete if the activity poses a risk to the health of the infected athlete (such as injury to the infected area), even though the infection can be properly covered.
- Athletes with active infections or open wounds should not use whirlpools or therapy pools not cleaned between athletes and other common-use water facilities like swimming pools until infections and wounds are healed.
Why MRSA is Spread among Athletes
In athletes, MRSA might spread more easily because they:
- Have repeated skin-to-skin contact.
- Get breaks in the skin such as cuts and abrasions that if left uncovered allow MRSA to enter and cause infection.
- Share items and surfaces that come into direct skin contact.
- Have inadequate access to hygiene measures.
Athletes Most At Risk
Skin infections including MRSA have been reported in athletes mostly in high-physical-contact sports such as wrestling, football, and rugby. However, MRSA infections have been reported among athletes in other sports such as soccer, basketball, field hockey, volleyball, rowing, martial arts, fencing, and baseball.
Even though little physical contact occurs in some sports during participation, skin contact or activities that may lead to spread of MRSA skin infections may take place before or after participation, such as in the locker room. Therefore, anyone participating in organized or recreational sports should be aware of the signs of possible skin infections and follow prevention measures.
Cleaning & Disinfecting Athletic Facilities When an MRSA Infection Occurs
Read about this on the Cleaning & Disinfecting for MRSA page.