Jan 29, 2015Session Notes: MRSA Prevention
Every year at the convention, the NATA uses its press conference as a forum to bring a sports medicine issue to the attention of the media and the general public. It’s not an event ATCs typically attend, but it’s an important part of the association’s effort to raise nationwide awareness on key topics and athletic trainers’ role in protecting athletes.
This year’s focus was methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a perennial “hot topic” in the sports world. Practically all the recommendations for MRSA prevention and treatment discussed at the press event are the same ones T&C has covered in recent years, but there’s always something new you can learn, even if it’s just another way to present the same information.
David Vasily, MD, a dermatologist based in Bethlehem, Pa., who works with Lehigh University athletics, provided a new acronym to remind athletic trainers of the most critical steps in keeping athletes safe from skin infections: HITE.
H – Hygiene (individual, team-wide, and facility); also Health (particularly of the immune system, and related factors such as nutrition)
I – Identify (remain vigilant and catch potential infections in their earliest stages); also Isolate (quarantine suspected cases until they can be evaluated and cultured)
T – Treat; also Triage (physician-directed intervention to kill the infection)
E – Educate (make sure athletes understand the risks of MRSA and know how to identify the early signs of infection on themselves and their teammates)
Is your program at the HITE of MRSA prevention?
Another panelist, a physician who served in Vietnam, shared this interesting fact: After bullet wounds, skin infections were the second leading cause of soldiers’ inability to perform during that war. Moral of the story: Close quarters, physical contact, and limited hygiene are always a recipe for infection risk.