June 2020 - 32

DEFEATING THE
INVISIBLE OPPONENT
Sanitization and Bacteria Control In Athletic Facilities
By Wesley Sykes, Managing Editor
The typical athletic facility is filled with many invisible
visitors. The tension that's built up in pregame moments,
the effort exerted in the weight room, the jubilation
that's expended following a come-from-behind victory -
those are the intangible clouds that fill the empty space
between teammates and coaches.
They are, however, not alone. Bacterium, molds, viral
organisms, and other microscopic infectious germs thrive
in athletic facilities like weight rooms, locker rooms, and
trainer rooms where a small space is repeatedly used by
large numbers of people that could be expelling fluids
like sweat, spit and even blood.
A group of sports healthcare professionals had similar
thoughts when conducting its 'Infection Risk Reduction
Program on Pathogens in High School and Collegiate
Athletic Training Rooms' published by the U.S. National
Library of Medicine in October 2019. They knew that
athletic training rooms, and other athletic facilities, have
a higher prevalence of bacteria, including multidrugresistant
organisms, increasing the risk for both local
and systemic infections in athletes. So the group set out
to create a hygiene protocol to reduce the bacterial and
viral pathogen counts in training rooms.
Studying two high school and two collegiate athletic
training rooms throughout the 2017-18 academic
year, the group found that 24 percent of surfaces were
introduced to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE),
and 25 percent of surfaces were initially detected to have
come in contact with forms of influenza.
Athletic administrators have long dealt with bacterial
control in an effort to keep their coaches and student32
JUNE 2020
athletes safe from bacterial infections and illnesses.
" Staph infections and things like ringworm were things
that previously worried us, " said Scott Garvis, Director of
Activities & Athletics of the Ankeny Community School
District in Iowa.
" Now we have more to worry about. "
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, those same
administrators are forced to step up their tactics in order
to ensure the safety of their communities. It's no longer
enough to simply follow the former best practices and
procedures of the sanitization of athletic facilities. They
must expand and improve upon those guidelines.
In the 2017-18 study, to reduce the bioburden of
the tested trainer's rooms, the group rolled out a
three-phase protocol - including the introduction
of disinfectant products followed by student-athletes
and staff education. The implementation resulted in
94.7 percent bacterial reduction with zero detection of
MRSA, VRE, or influenza.
A uniform infection control protocol was found to be
effective in reducing bacterial and viral burdens. Now the
question is how to put a proper plan together.
Five-Tool Defense System
In his second act of life, former Major Leaguer Adam
Everett found himself getting pulled back into a Florida
spring training facility, but in a very different manner
than his former profession presented. Instead of turning
double plays or fielding ground balls, Everett heard of
alarming issues stemming from one unnamed MLB
team's spring training facility where a number of players
were getting sick and no one knew why.

June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2020

June 2020 - 1
June 2020 - 2
June 2020 - 3
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June 2020 - 7
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