In this section, you’ll find information on MRSA for school athletics professionals, athletic directors, trainers, coaches, and others in high schools, colleges and universities in Massachusetts.
What is MRSA?
MRSA is a kind of Staphylococcus aureus (“staph”) bacterium that is resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics, including methicillin, oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin. It is often resistant to many other antibiotics as well.
For general information about MRSA and Staphylococcus aureus (“staph”), please see resources below for parents and students.
There are several reasons why school athletics professionals are concerned about MRSA.
- First, in Massachusetts and elsewhere throughout the country, MRSA infections are becoming more common in community settings, including schools and among athletes.
- Second, staph (including MRSA) are spread by direct contact (see below for more on how MRSA is spread). On athletic teams, there are many opportunities for direct contact among athletes.
- Third, a MRSA outbreak can cause much anxiety for parents, athletes and staff, and MRSA infections can vary from mild to severe.
- Finally, MRSA is part of a larger problem of antibiotic resistance
How is MRSA spread?
Staph, including MRSA, are spread by direct skin-to-skin contact, such as shaking hands, wrestling, or other direct contact with the skin of another person. Staph are also spread by contact with items that have been touched by people with staph, like towels shared after bathing and drying off, or shared athletic equipment in the gym or on the field.
Most people who have staph or MRSA on their skin do not have infections or illness caused by staph. These people are “colonized” with staph. Staph infections start when staph get into a cut, scrape or other break in the skin. People who have skin infections should be very careful to avoid spreading their infection to others. Steps to prevent spread are listed below.