The National Football League is a dangerous place. Little do folks know the danger isn’t in broken bones or torn ligaments, but in staph infections. Yes, simple infections that turn into life threatening ailments if not treated appropriately. The NFL is undergoing a mini-epidemic of MRSA infections. MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, simply put it’s an infection that has grown a resistance to antibiotics.
Brian Russell of the Cleveland Browns is the latest NFL player to get the infection and he won’t be the last. NFL players can pick up the infection through their frequent small cuts or abrasions they get from the ground, artificial turf or even other players. Last year the problem was a large one for the St. Louis Rams and it doesn’t appear that it’s going to go away anytime soon.
Brian Russell’s infection was one of the harder ones to treat. Brian said, “I went from being in tiptop shape, to a few hours later, being knocked on my butt and having surgery.”
How do you get a staph infection? You can pick up a MRSA infection from any open wound. About 1/3rd of the population is exposed to the bug in their nasal passages, but most people never allow it into their system. Football and soccer players are most at risk for the infection.
What are the symptoms of a staph infection? There may be no outward signs of infection at first. When you start seeing signs they will present as a cut that beings to swell the affected area. The swelling won’t go down and a fever will soon follow. Your joints may begin to feel achey and you may develop a respiratory issue. The important thing is that you seek treatment of a small cut that doesn’t heal, changes colors or swells the surrounding area.
How do you treat a staph infection? Usually the medicine vancomycin is given. This is considered the “drug of last resort” for infections like this. Many times hospitalization will be necessary, as IV drugs will be administered. In some cases the flesh surrounding the cut will need to be removed to save your life. Hopefully, if the infection is caught early, drug therapy will be enough.
What can happen if the staph infection goes untreated? An MRSA staph infection that goes untreated will kill you. Even with treatment, there is a 30% chance you will die from the infection if not treated quickly.
Brian Russell caught the infection early enough that he had to have surgery, but he only lost a small amount of dead flesh.