Football fans in New Jersey may have heard that the Washington Redskins completely updated their headquarters in 2006 after the discovery of a dangerous staph infection that could have disabled many of the team's players. Reports say that locker rooms can become a breeding ground for the deadly bacteria known as MRSA, which can debilitate players just as quickly as the more publicized concussion injuries.
MRSA has affected five players on the Redskins' team, including a defensive lineman who almost needed his leg amputated due to complications from the infection. The lineman also suggested that the disease played a significant role in ending his career. In 2003, the St. Louis Rams also suffered an outbreak, and the team wiped out the infection by cleaning the locker room with bleach. In a more recent case, MRSA infections had affected players in Tampa Bay.
The Redskins' team trainer explained the complexity of the project but felt that it was absolutely necessary for the safety of the team. As part of the overhaul, benches were removed from the locker room and were replaced with individual stools to reduce the possibility of contamination. The team also installed ultraviolet lights to kill the infection. An upgraded the ventilation system was also installed so that clothing and equipment would dry more quickly. The trainer also said that the players were educated regarding the the possible dangers of the infection and reminded of preventative measures, such as showering prior to using a hot tub.
The efforts to keep players healthy may also protect the teams from possible lawsuits. If the team had not taken steps to reduce the risk of infection after learning about the risks, they may have been subject to premises liability claims.