Shelby's Policy Paper

Policy on High School Sports Teams
I am a high school coach, and I coach varsity boys’ basketball. It is rewarding to coach my boys. I am expecting to win the state title this year after looking at the talent for the upcoming season. I have one problem that is standing in the way, and that is the possibility of athlete illnesses during the season. My theory on student illness is that too many of my athletes are sharing drinks, and by sharing those drinks, they are sharing different infections.
Antibiotic resistance also plays a part in the passing of infections through sharing drinks. Many of the common infections that high school athletes acquire are becoming resistant to the commonly used antibiotics that were prescribed to cure the infections so easily years ago. The introduction of new antibiotics that can fight off the infections are good, but the problem is that right after the introduction, the infections fight back and resistant strains are noticed (3). The magazine, Clinical Microbiology and Infections says that “new classes of antibiotics are urgently needed to treat infections with this growing population of multidrug resistant…(3)” One reason that we have become resistant to some of the antibiotics that have been used in the past is because of unnecessary antibiotic use. That is one reason why new antibiotic classes are in such high demand. High school teams could prevent giving each other infections multiple times. If athletes don’t get the infection as much, the need for new classes of antibiotics disminish.
Some of the infections are streptococcal pharyngitis, staphylococcus, and herpes simplex virus 1 (cold sores). Sources state that many of these infections are becoming resistant to their commonly used antibiotics (3). Streptococcal pharyngitis, or strep throat, is one of the most common infections of children (4). It is an infection of the throat and tonsils. Strep throat is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. Some of the symptoms include pain when swallowing, fever, and tender lymph nodes in the neck. It has been treated with penicillin for the last five decades (4). Streptococcal pharyngitis is treated by penicillin now, but there is debate on what will happen in the future for antibiotic resistance to this infection. Staphylococcus infection is caused by the bacteria staphylococcus aureus to the skin. Archives of internal medicine did an experiment to describe a community outbreak of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (2). This proves that there is resistance through some antibiotics used to fight off staphylococcus. Herpes simplex virus- type 1 is an infection that is described by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by “an infection that can be found in and released from the sores that the viruses cause, but also are released between outbreaks from skin that does not appear to have a sore (5).” That means that they can be transmitted by contact even when it doesn’t look like the infected person has anything wrong with them. This is commonly on the lips and causes a lot of pain like blisters. This type of viral infection affects an estimate of 50 to 80 percent of the American population (1). As you can see, those are just a few of the infections that can be passed around easily by contact. They are commonly seen and there are ways of preventing contact so athletes don’t have to treat these infections multiple times.
Athletes are using each other’s things all of the time. They share towels, soap, drinks, benches, and other utensils. This is how these infections are being passed around. Therefore, there needs to be some sort of regulation on trying to keep infections from being passed around so frequently between players so the need for new antibiotics will go down. Another plus is that there will not be as many athletes sick so they will play at a higher level. I have developed a policy to try to make these infections happen less frequently:
I. All Schools have to provide separate, named water bottles and towels for each athlete.
There could be arguments on why this is necessary, because it will be costing the schools to buy these items. Arguments on this policy might also need further explanation on how antibiotic resistance happens with these infections and how antibiotic resistance will affect us in the future. To regulate this I will need LSE’s help, which is school regulations and code of practice, to make sure that all schools are keeping this policy into play. A penalty will be admitted to each school that does not provide the accommodations by January, 2010. That gives plenty of time to raise money by having a fundraiser so each school could purchase both towels and water bottles. The penalty will reflect the purpose of having these items by not allowing the athletic systems of each school to continue until this policy has been followed. This policy will be effective if followed, because it will help lessen the need for new classes of antibiotics.
1. Fanutti, Paula. “Living with Herpes.” One Healthy Lifesyle. retrieved date: 10/4/08. Retrieved from
2. Lindenmayer, Joann M. Schoenfeld, Susan. O’Grady, Robert. Carney, Jan K. “Methicillin-Resistant Staphlyococcus aureus in a High School Wrestling Team and the Surrounding Community.” Archives or Internal Medicine. Vol. 158 no. 8 April, 2003.
3. Schito, G. G. “The importance of the development of antibiotic resistance in staphylococcus aureus.” Clinical Microbiology and Infection. Volume 12 issue s1, pg. 3-8. Published: January 24, 2006.
4. Shulman, Standford T., MD. and Gerber, Michael A., MD. “So What’s Wrong With Penicillin for Strep Throat?” Official Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics. Volume 113 no. 6, pp. 1816-1819. June 2004.
5. Unknown author. “Genital Herpes- CDC Fact Sheet” Department of health and human services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. January 4, 2008.

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