GREENCASTLE -- A Greencastle High School football player is being treated for a staph infection, but the rumor that the infection is methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has not been confirmed, GHS Athletic Director Scott Knapp said.
School administrators were notified over the weekend the student-athlete was hospitalized for the infection. Although the exact nature and source of the infection are unknown, the school is taking precautions to prevent the infection from spreading among its students.
Superintendent Bob Green said the staff at GHS is already taking steps to prevent further infection.
"We've reinforced the cleaning that we do in the locker rooms and the shower areas, the weight lifting room -- all the areas that are common to the players," Green said.
Knapp also indicated that the coaching staff and athletes are taking steps to prevent further infections. The players have been told to take all personal items home to wash them. They are also strongly encouraged to pay close attention to personal hygiene in ways such as always showering and changing clothes after practice.
Knapp has drafted a letter to the parents of GHS athletes to be sent home. In part, it reads:
This past weekend Greencastle administrators were notified that one of our student-athletes was hospitalized with a staph infection. Greencastle High School is doing everything to prevent infections like this from spreading amongst its athletes. It is important that our athletes practice good personal hygiene in the following ways:
* Keep your hands clean by washing frequently with soap and water using an alcohol-based hand rub.
* Shower immediately after exercising and do not share bar soap or towels.
* Wash your uniforms and practice equipment after each use.
It is also important to take care of your skin and do not share items that come into contact with your skin. Avoid sharing personal items or ointments. The spreading of this infection can be easily acquired amongst athletes because of all the skin-to-skin contact athletics can bring.
The letter also points parents toward the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (www.cdc.gov) for further advice and information.
Knapp said promoting hygiene and taking precautions are the keys.
"Hopefully there won't be a spreading of it," he said. "The key is just being cautious and safe. Whether it's one kid or 10, you take the same precautions."