Melissa's Policy Paper

Policy on CA-MRSA
Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacteria in a human’s normal flora. Its primary habitat is the anterior nares, or external portion of the nostrils. 80% of the population is a carrier of S. aureus at some time in their life while 20% never carry it at all. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a strain of S. aureus that causes “staph” infections resistant to common antibiotics. MRSA is resistant to penicillins and β-lactams (4). In history, MRSA infections often led to death. MRSA occurs most frequently in the healthcare setting in patients have weakened immune systems or have undergone invasive surgery. This type of MRSA is called healthcare acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or HA-MRSA (3). In the past, patients in hospitals or nursing homes were the only ones at risk for getting a staph infection, but recently outbreaks among healthy people have been reported. This type of MRSA is known as community acquired or community associated-MRSA (1).
Community acquired-MRSA, or CA-MRSA, can break out in many different environments. There have been outbreaks in school settings or places with poor living conditions, like hurricane evacuees (5). CA-MRSA is most known to have outbreaks in athletic teams and facilities. These outbreaks are thought to be caused by sharing of clothing, equipment, razors, skin-to-skin contact, and close living conditions (1). CA-MRSA infections are generally mild and affect the skin. These skin infections are red, swollen, painful, warm to the touch, full of puss or drainage, and often accompanied by a fever (2). Although, the CA-MRSA strain is only known to be resistant to the β-lactams, if proper attention is not paid to prevent resistance of other antibiotics, this is sure to change and the infections will get worse (4).
We at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics believe that this issue is a priority in keeping our student athletes healthy. The following policy for athletic programs at colleges and universities in the NAIA division will help to prevent the spread of staph infections, which will help slow their resistance to other antibiotics.


1. All student-athletes will be required to attend a presentation to learn about the prevention of a CA-MRSA infection before they begin practice. The presentation will teach the athletes about the dangers of an infection, what to do if they think they have an infection, proper care of an infection, and what to do to prevent an infection. Athletes cannot participate in any practice or games until they have attended the presentation.
2. All athletic facilities on campus will be equipped with hand sanitizer at exits. This includes the exits of gyms, weight rooms, and locker rooms. There will also be showers and soap available, if not already, for athletes to use after workouts. Athletes will have his or her own water bottle and their own towel to use in the weight rooms.
3. A healthy environment should be made by wiping down all weights and wrestling mats at least daily and routinely cleaning all athletic equipment.

Colleges and Universities can take any donations for these products; otherwise, each school will be responsible for funding this project. Some may think that this project will be too expensive for what it is worth. However, when it comes to the health of our student athletes, we believe that this cost is definitely worth it and, like it was stated before, many programs may be willing to donate to our schools as well. Another issue some people may have with this policy is that it may be time consuming to clean all the equipment and put together a presentation. Again, the benefits will outweigh the effort put into this policy. The health and safety of these students is our main priority and this policy is going to help insure that as well as help to prevent the resistance of antibiotics in the CA-MRSA strain.

1. Beam, Joel W., and Bernadette Burkley. "Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Prevalence and Risk Factors." Journal of Athletic Training 41 (2006): 337-40.
2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention . "MRSA: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Healthcare Settings." 17 Oct. 2007. 29 Sept. 2008 <>.
3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Emerging Infectious Diseases. "Recognize and Prevent MRSA Infections." 7 Sept. 2007. 29 Sept. 2008 <>.
4. Foster, Timothy J. "The Staphylococcus aureus “superbug”." The Journal of Clinical Investigation 114 (2004): 1693-695.
5. Jablecki, J. "Infectious Disease and Dermatologic Conditions in Evacuees and Rescue Workers After Hurricane Katrina - Multiple States, AugustSeptember, 2005." Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 26 Sept. 2005. 29 Sept. 2008 <>.

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