Redskins hire company to fight infections

Updated: August 2, 2006, 7:25 PM ET
Associated Press

ASHBURN, Va. -- Concerned about a potentially dangerous infection that hit five players the past two seasons, the Washington Redskins hired a company to treat their practice facility with a spray that controls the growth of bacteria and mold.

New carpeting and a fresh coat of paint were applied to the locker room, weight room, training room and other areas at Redskins Park ahead of last week's spraying, an effort to prevent the spread of MRSA, a form of staph infection that's resistant to many antibiotics.

"I liked the idea. I liked the science behind it," Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer said Wednesday. "That's just part of the way you prevent this disease from spreading."

Other preventive measures adopted by the Redskins included removing benches in the locker room and replacing them with individual wooden stools for each player, and taking out a 15-year-old whirlpool bath and adding a new filtering system for the substitute.

MRSA is passed person-to-person via skin contact; it's not a bacteria that floats in the air. It can be fatal.

"It's a terrible infection," Tyer said. "It can cripple your team."

Three Redskins players contracted MRSA infections last season, the worst case being that of defensive tackle Brandon Noble.

Tyer has spoken to other NFL trainers about MRSA, and, he said, "We're all concerned."

The Redskins are the first NFL team to use this particular spray, which costs about $1.50 per square foot. Other teams used other methods to deal with the problem: The St. Louis Rams, for example, bleached and sterilized every training table, sauna and surface. The antimicrobial system used by the Redskins also has been used for Virginia Tech's football and wrestling teams.

"We're in conversations with at least 10 other NFL teams and about 50" college programs, said Wendy Orthman, a spokeswoman for Coatings Specialist Group, which applied the spray.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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