Duke doctor works with NFL to wipe out germs in the locker room

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Keeping a sports team healthy, whether it’s high school, college or the pros, can be a real challenge – but the stakes are even higher in the NFL when a locker room bug can impact the entire season.

Duke University has teamed up with the NFL to tackle bugs before they even get to the players.

As everyone knows, pro football players get frequent cuts and scrapes and have a lot of physical contact. That, doctors say, can easily spread infections.

Now, researchers with Duke’s Infection Control Outreach Network (ICON) are teaming up with the NFL to keep players off the sidelines and on the gridiron. They have now developed a comprehensive reference manual for infections.

Doctor Deverick Anderson is the director of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network. Anderson said the NFL approached him to put together an official manual after three Tampa Bay Buccaneers contracted MRSA two seasons ago.

Anderson said the NFL deals with the same issues as all of us when it comes to wiping out germs.

“The most common ones will be the same ones that all the rest of us deal with, [such as] your common colds, influenza and stomach viruses [and] even norovirus or something like that,” he said. “But they’re unique in the sense that they’re at pretty high risk for skin infection because of their occupation.”

The ICON manual encourages some of the basics like:

  • Frequent hand washing and disinfectant stations
  • Mandating post-practice showers
  • Making flu and other vaccines readily available
  • Treating contagious illnesses early and aggressively

The manual has been distributed to all 32 NFL teams and Anderson will visit each team to talk about best practices.

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