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Protecting People in Your Environment

Preventing School Sports Infections in Young Athletes

Originally published by Consumer Reports

Parents think about protecting them from injury, but how about infection?

If you have kids who are athletes, you probably worry about them suffering a concussion or breaking a bone. But infections—especially those transmitted through the skin—are a health risk for them, too.

A new report out today in the journal Pediatrics offers guidelines for doctors and parents to help minimize the spread of infections in young athletes.

Not only can infections spread in sports and cause harm to an individual child, they can potentially stop a competitive season for an entire team, especially in close-contact sports.

“Injuries are certainly more common, but you can get outbreaks of herpes or staph infections that can lead to major problems in terms of athletes’ ability to participate,” says Dele Davies, M.D., lead author of the report and a professor of pediatrics and public health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Outbreaks have been seen in wrestlers, rugby and football players, and judo competitors, among other athletes.

According to the report, 10 to 15 percent of time lost from practice or competition at the college level is due to skin infections, the most common of which are MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), herpes, Group A B-hemolytic streptococcus, and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and jock itch.

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School Sports Infections