Skin Infections: Information for Coaches and Team Leaders

Skin Infections: Information for Coaches and Team Leaders

Skin infections account for up to 10% of time-loss injuries in some sports and can cause serious illness. Skin infections can be spread from one athlete to another. You can help protect athletes from becoming sick or losing playing time due to skin infections.

Skin infections can lead to:

  • Lost playing time
  • Scarring, sometimes on face
  • Wounds or rashes that keep recurring
  • Rarely, serious life-threatening infections if not treated quickly

The three most important skin infections are:

  • Staphylococcus aureus “Staph”
    Caused by: bacteria
    Typically: one or more painful sores, with pus surrounded by redness, sometimes associated with fever

  • Herpes
    Caused by: virus, the same virus that causes cold sores in the mouth
    Typically: one or more painful blisters  with clear fluid surrounded by redness

  • Tinea “Ringworm”
    Caused by
    : fungus
    Typically: itchy, dry, red, circular patches

What are the risk factors for passing skin infections from one person to another?

  • Skin-to-skin contact
    • Wrestling and football are the sports with the most number of outbreaks
    • Outbreaks have been reported among participants in many other sports
  • Inadequate hand washing
  • Sharing sweaty or dirty clothes, towels, or equipment
  • Breaks in the skin, sores, or open wounds particularly if they are draining fluid and are not covered by a bandage that covers the entire wound
  • Not showering after every practice or game