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Bucs Dealing with Third MRSA Infection


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are indeeddealing with another case of MRSA -- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infection--as Sports Talk Florida reported Friday shortly after 12 p.m.

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik confirmed the news in a press conference at the team headquarterssoon after."Were here today to obviously report that we did have a third case of MRSA within this organization."

Dominik would not state the name of the player, butNFL.comhasreported that it isrookie cornerback Johnthan Banks, who was absent from Friday's practice due to an 'illness' after participating in previous practices this week. He was not listed on the injury report the previous two days.

Banks is the third Bucs player to test positive for the infection. Less than 24 hours ago prior, teammate Carl Nicks discovered a recurrence ofthe infection, which is very difficult to treat due to the fact that it does not respond to traditional antibiotics.

The third player, Lawrence Tynes,is stillreceiving antibiotic treatmentusing a peripherally inserted central catheter, also known as a PICC line. Both he and Nicks developed infections in August. Nicks was cleared to resume practicing after roughly three weeks of antibiotics.

OnWednesday Banks cameto the training staff with concerns. A culture was performed,with partial confirmation of the result cominglate Thursday night.

"We had a player actually come to our doctors and had a concern and quite frankly, its very smart by them. We appreciated it, we pointed that out. Early detection is by far the most preventive ways to limit the control of the situation. This player did a good job of alerting us," Dominik said.

Dr. Deverick Anderson, co-director of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON), was flown in to assess the situation and talk to players and staff members about their concerns.

"Were trying to stay in front of this and inform everybody as soon as we have information. Thats our goal here, because I think that helps in the outcome," Dominik said.

"Its been something that is obviously very important to us, the player health and safety of our players is again of the upmost importance to us and its been something weve worked very strenuously with our training staff, our equipment staff, a lot of policies and procedures that weve put in place, going back all the way to before August and certainly post-August, when we had the first two cases."

"We continue to follow those policies and procedures and were going to continue to find new policies that were talking about even now, to even further strengthen our situation."

Anderson, who was brought in a month ago to evaluate the team's facilities, said that he does not believe the first two cases of MRSA with Nicks and Tynes are related and that it is too early to tell with the third.

"We dont know about the third one yet, we still need additional information about the specific MRSA that we are dealing with, but we actually, definitively say that the first two cases were really not related to each other," Anderson said, noting that the strains of the bacteria are determined based on how they respond to specific antibiotics.

He said that based on his evaluations from one month ago and currently,he feels the Bucs do provide a safe work environment for players and staff members and that the infections are due to the nature of football, where this is a significant amount of skin-to-skin contact and skin breakdown.

"Based on my observations, I didnt think there was anything very high risk. I think football in-and-of itself was a known risk factor for MRSA and MRSA infection in general. So, that the fact that a case, or even two, and now three cases occurred does not necessarily in-and-of itself mean that this is any higher risk than any other football location in the country.

When asked why the Bucs are the only organization among 32 teams in the league dealing with the issue, he responded, "I think thats a great question and I dont think we know the answer to that question, to be perfectly honest."

The NFLPA iscurrently investigatingthe protocol in which the Bucs handled Lawrence Tynes'diagnosis and placement on the non-football injury list.

"We have been involved in an ongoing review of the MRSA incidents in Tampa Bay initiated by the concerns we had about the manner in which team officials responded to these cases," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said ina statement Friday.

"We advised the NFL and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that an outside expert should be brought in to assess the situation and we are pleased with their decision to take that recommendation. We have also beenin regular contact with the player representatives from Tampa Bay. We will reach out to the Philadelphia Eagles player representatives today and provide them with our best medical guidance and regular updates from the outside experts."

"This underscores the need for a League-wide, comprehensive and standardized infectious disease protocol. It also calls forimproved accountability measures on health and safety issues by the NFL over the clubs."

The Bucs hired a specialized cleaning company to come in and sanitize the facilities twice in August. Team officials said there are no plans to clean it a third time, nor are there plans to culture every player and staff member, despite speculation that a member of the training staff is fighting an infection.

I am not aware of anybody in this building that would be related to whats going with the MRSA cases that we have, no," Dominik said.

Practice Friday was postponed nearly 90 minutes. Playersweregiven anopportunity to ask Anderson questions, which alleviated some concerns.

"Thats one thing that we learned today, talking with one of the best specialists in this country, how common it actually is,"wide receiver Vincent Jackson told reporters.

"Its like a germ, like anything else, its around in any environment, so the fact that weve had some cases here, it can be cured, they can obviously be fixed, theres medicine to address it and were using the best people at our disposal. The guys are confident that if anything comes up, were going to address it. I dont think its a scare at all.

Safety Dashon Goldson added, Nobodys really nervous or scared about the MRSA, were pretty much educated on that and were good. Were focused on this team thats coming in and playing this football game this weekend.



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