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Can life-threatening bacteria spread on school sports equipment?

Posted at 3:24 PM, May 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-26 16:09:03-04

A Florida family claims their 16-year-old son contracted MRSA from his high-school football helmet, but a pediatric disease specialist says most cases are transferred through skin-to-skin contact.

Nicole Meyers says her son Noah got the deadly bacteria at football practice. In a Facebook post, she says the school's helmets were not properly sanitized.


Warning to local parents whose children play school sports. My son started spring football practice at Merritt Island...

Posted by Nicole Meyers on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dr. Jason Newland is a pediatrician with Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. He says transmission is possible.

"I think most likely it came from the skin, got on the helmet and now the helmet is going to look like it because that's where the abrasions are, but it probably didn't originate from the helmet," said Newland.

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30 percent of all people have the bacteria on their skin, and warm weather causes carriers to develop local infections or boil.

"We do see a lot more of it in the summer and it makes sense bacteria love warm moist environments," said Newland. "That's what they like. That's how they grow."

Student athletes can protect themselves from bacteria by bathing regularly and cleaning sports equipment.

Dr. Newland says everyone should wash their hands after play with soap, water and lots of friction.

While it's important to protect your family, the fear of MRSA shouldn't stop the fun.

"To me, that doesn't stop you from going out to let your children do the fun things that they can do everyday," said Newland.