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Competitive football players’ safety has become an important concern at the high school, collegiate and professional level and warrants attention.1–4 From 2003 to 2008, five players at our institution developed clinically significant community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) skin infections requiring hospitalisation and intravenous antibiotics. In 2008, the University of South Carolina team instituted anti-MRSA precautions based on recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) (box 1). In an attempt to understand if guidelines recommended by the CDC resulted in low MRSA colonisation rates, we randomly selected players on a Division I collegiate football programme to evaluate colonisation for MRSA obtained from nares, helmets and shoulder pads. Inclusion criteria were age 18 or older and current team member. Exclusion criteria were presence of skin infection, receiving antibiotics or hospitalisation in the prior month. The study received IRB approval and informed consent was obtained from study participants. A research assistant or team physician obtained specimens from the nares, helmet and shoulder pads with a cotton-tipped swab from each site. …
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