Last fall, staph infections were going around the NFL like a bimbo on a broken Ferris wheel. Even Time magazine felt compelled to point out that "a microscopic foe can be much more imposing than a 300-pound lineman"; why, even the indomitable Peyton Manning, the flawless Tom Brady, and six Cleveland Browns had been taken down by the bug.
In response, Commissioner Roger Goodell, in conjunction with the NFL Players Association, sent two doctors to inspect the locker rooms of NFL teams -- including the Miami Dolphins. Yesterday, the docs released a report; they found that through education and better hygiene practices, the clubs are doing a good job of minimizing MSRA staph infections. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a strain of bacteria that is resistant to common antibiotics.
According to WebMD.com, about 25 percent of people carry staph bacteria in the nose, mouth, genitals, and anus. If it gets into a cut or open wound, however, problems can range from "a simple boil" to "flesh-eating infections."
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The NFL physicians' survey determined there were 60 MRSA infections in the NFL between 2003 and 2005, but that number dropped to 33 infections between 2006 and 2008, a nearly 50 percent decline.