Staphylococcus, or staph, is a group of infectious bacteria that can enter the body through cuts and scrapes via skinto- skin contact, equipment and athletic gear. Staph can cause skin rashes, debilitation, and in severe cases, death.
An athlete with staph must sit out from training and competition to prevent bacteria from spreading throughout his body and to teammates and opponents. During the ’08-’09 NBA season, Memphis Grizzlies F Rudy Gay missed significant time with a staph infection, and a more severe case ended the career of former NFL Pro Bowl center LeCharles Bentley.
Use these guidelines to prevent exposure to staph and other bacteria:
Use the right detergent: Specific performance-enhanced detergents (such as WIN) dig deep to destroy bacteria and other viral agents. Wash your apparel post-practice to prevent bacteria from collecting and growing overnight.
Disinfect your pads: Clorox Wipes and other household disinfectants can kill bacteria on non-machine-washable gear. Clean shoulder pads, helmets, shin guards and other equipment with a diluted solution of one part bleach and 10 parts water. Spray or wipe it on the equipment, let it sit for one minute, then wipe dry with a paper towel.
Get your gear professionally cleaned: Equipment sanitization companies like Fresh Gear and Sports O Zone disinfect athletic gear and equipment. The money spent is well worth the assurance that your gear is totally clean.