Reports of MRSA SSTIs Among College Football Players*

PopulationYear(s)No. of Athletes InfectedInfection Site(s)Comments
College football players45200010NR
  • Shaving and turf burns resulting in trauma to the skin and sharing of unwashed bath towels were suspected as potential risk factors for transmission

College football players452002 to 20032NR
  • Both players were hospitalized for MRSA skin infections within the same week; 1 received surgical debridement and skin grafts

  • Shared items such as balms and lubricants were identified as potential risk factors for transmission

College football players46200310 (10%) of 100Elbow, thigh, hip, chin, forearm, wrist, knee, tibial plateau
  • 10 players developed 13 MRSA skin infections (9 abscesses and 4 cellulitis)

  • Hospitalization was required for 2 players who had recurrent MRSA infections. The other 8 players were managed as outpatients; all but 1 required at least 7 days of frequent visits for wound care

  • 8 of the 10 infected players were cornerback defensive backs or wide receivers. The 2 remaining infected players were a linebacker and a tight end

  • Other risk factors deemed to be associated with transmission of MRSA infection included abrasions from artificial grass (turf burns), cosmetic body shaving

  • In 3 of the 4 players whose infection was located at a covered site (e.g., hip or thigh), transmission was attributed to sharing the cold whirlpool at least twice each week

College football players47-492002 to 20042 (1.9%) of 107 in 2002; 17 (15.9%) of 107 in 2003; 1 (0.96%) of 104 in 2004Elbow, shin, ankle, forearm, knee, buttock, and chin
  • The spectrum of disease ranged from a small abscess requiring outpatient surgical drainage to necrotizing fasciitis requiring hospitalization and multiple procedures

  • 8 players required hospitalization

College football players50200513
College football players51200633 (6.7%) of 491Elbow, knee, leg, and forearm
  • Cutaneous manifestations included abscess (70%), cellulitis (16%), folliculitis, impetigo, and necrotizing fasciitis

  • 90% of the infections were treated with surgical drainage, whereas 27% were treated with intravenous antibiotics

  • No differences were seen in occurrence by player position

College football players52200625 (22.9%) of 109Distal arm, distal leg, neck, chest, shoulder, axilla, foot, and groin
  • 13 (52%) of the 25 cases occurred in offensive linemen. Other positions included defensive lineman (4), tight end (2), linebacker (2), defensive back (2), quarterback (1), and wide receiver (1)

College football players5320078 (7.3%) of 110
  • A particularly virulent strain of MSSA with an unusual resistance profile (resistant to erythromycin and ciprofloxacin) was responsible for this outbreak

College football players112008 to 20109 (7.2%) of 125
  • 5 of the 9 infections were identified as MRSA, 1 was identified as MSSA, and 3 were not S. aureus abscesses

  • * NR = not reported.