Guidelines aim to prevent athlete skin diseases - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Guidelines aim to prevent athlete skin diseases

(CNN) - At any given time, one in three people in the U.S. suffers from a skin disease, according to the National Athletic Trainers' Association. Athletes are particularly vulnerable.

However, new recommendations could eliminate some of these illnesses from the locker room.

The association now mandates that trainers maintain clean equipment and locker rooms daily, players wash after every practice or competition, and the schools should educate players and discourage athletes from sharing gear.

Drexel University wrestler Kyle Frey could have benefited from the stricter standards. His sport experiences a lot of body-to-body contact, a risk factor for skin infections.

Frey didn't think anything of it when he developed a bump on his arm.  He casually scratched it, which was a mistake.

"It started as a small pimple on my left arm, and then I noticed by Monday it grew to the size of my biceps," Frey said.

Frey had developed a serious case of MRSA, a staph infection that eats at your skin. He required hospitalization and antibiotics until it healed.

According to a survey, 56 percent of infectious diseases in competitive sports, from high school to pro level, are skin diseases.

Some like MRSA can be very serious and very contagious.

It's hoped the new guidelines will reduce the number of skin illnesses in the locker room.  

"The lessons that we learn today are the same lessons we learned in our sixth grade health classes," said Dr. Stephen Zinder with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. 

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