The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are having a really rough season thus far. With a record of 0-5, a head coach on the hot seat, AND their supposed “franchise” quarterback traded away, the Bucs can’t really afford to have too many distractions. But they do…a big and nasty one.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (trust me, it is a lot harder to pronounce than it is to spell) or ‘MRSA” is a relatively difficult infection to treat because it is resistant to many antibiotics that are used to treat other forms of staph infections.
A bacterium that develops through natural selection, MRSA is commonly found colonized within the nostrils, the respiratory tracts, or open wounds of human beings and is spread through contact. MRSA has a very distinctive symptom. What look to resemble pimples or small spider bites, the infection can spread these small bumps and boils into painful abscesses that need to be drained surgically.
Three of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers everyday players have fallen victim to the awful bacteria. Guard Carl Nicks, kicker Lawernce Tynes, and cornerback Johnthan Banks. While Banks has been cleared to play, Tynes has yet to see action on the field this season, and Nicks played a mere two games before being diagnosed with a reoccurrence of the infection.
Surprisingly, this is not the first outbreak that has occurred in the NFL in the last five years. In an independent survey done by the NFL physicians, it was reported that there were at least 33 cases of MRSA among the 32 NFL teams.
This survey has led to a question that many players and coaches are asking: “How does MRSA become contracted and how does it spread?” The bacterium of the infection itself spreads through contact. Football, being a contact sport, has reports of MRSA infections 16 times the national average. Because of the artificial turf that players play on, wounds are almost always eminent. With turf burns and uncovered cuts, the MRSA infection can be contracted quite easily, as well as spread with no trouble.
Treatment for MRSA is difficult to come by because it is resistant to many common antibiotics. The medicine that is used to help and kill the infection is called Linezolid. In pill form, it is a very expensive drug that costs around $100 per pill. Scientists are currently working on trying to create a cheaper, yet effective medicine that can help treat the bacterium, but no luck has been found.
As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they must wait out the infection on their players. The infection has not only hurt two players, but has embedded its chance of spreading into the psyche of players not infected. Superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis has openly stated that the chance of infection on everyone associated with the team is “distracting.”
Regardless, the team has been one of the worst in the NFL this season and thus has called into question the future job status of Head Coach Greg Schiano. Schiano was an integral part in the release of quarterback Josh Freeman and the NFLPA has stated that Schiano personally called for his release.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have no other choice but to wait out the MRSA infection on their players. But in the meantime, they can fix the problems that they have with the roster that they send onto the field every game. Granted, a serious infection like MRSA can affect a team like it has with the Bucs, but if they focus on the task at hand, then they will be fine.