Hockey players with staph infections isn’t breaking news. Just ask Winnipeg Jets’ star, Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets, who didn’t think twice about a cut on his hand from a scuffle with Eric Brewer. Shortly after, his hand blew up like a balloon with a bacterial infection — one that fast tracked him right out of the lineup.
A staph infection can develop from any skin abrasion. The infection is spread by contact with an infected individual or through contact with contaminated items like athletic equipment, locker rooms, weight rooms or gyms, as well as personal hygiene items like towels, bandaids, razors or clothing.
Staph infections can be mild, like a rash, but more often we hear about athletes who contract incredibly aggressive infections. Such was the case with Calgary Flames hockey prospect, Patrick Sieloff, who developed a severe case of staph from an ingrown hair on his stomach. He didn’t think he would spend his first professional season nursing an injury from an infection, but that was exactly what happened. The 19-year old defenseman had suffered staph infections in the past, but nothing compared to the magnitude of this one.
Sieloff’s infection was so extreme, it rendered him immobile for the first month and he wore a device that administered 24-hour intravenous antibiotics. To make matters worse, he had an allergic reaction to the medication that caused a fever and chills. His recovery was a slow, week by week process.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Hockey Team from a Staph Infection
Staph can be lethal if not treated immediately. If a person has had staph infections in the past, the infection can lay dormant inside the body and manifest at any time, as was the case for Sieloff who developed staph at the site of his ingrown hair.
The best defense against contracting a staph infection is to be prepared and protected. The following tips will help athletes stay clear of a staph infection as well as other contagious skin infections.
- Never share your hockey equipment with other players.
- Shower soon after every hockey practice and match.
- Clean, keep dry, and cover any cuts or broken skin.
- Seek care from a physician if a cut or wound looks red, swollen, or is draining.
- Never allow anyone besides a medical professional touch a wound.
- Disinfect all of your hockey gear after every use by using a disinfecting solution, like Clear Gear Spray, which kills 99.9% of all bacteria, viruses, and fungi.