HealthDay News — Participation in organized sports can potentially expose athletes to infectious diseases, with major risk factors including skin-to-skin contact, environmental exposures and physical trauma, and sharing of equipment, according to a clinical report published online September 25 in Pediatrics.

H. Dele Davies, MD, from the University of Nebraska Medical center in Omaha, and colleagues address the potential for participation in organized sports to expose athletes to infectious diseases. 

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The researchers found that skin-to-skin contact with athletes who have active skin infections, environmental exposures, and physical trauma are major risk factors for infection, as well as sharing of equipment and contact with contaminated fomites. Additional risks include close contact, which is intrinsic to team sports, and psychosocial factors associated with adolescence.

“Minimizing risk requires leadership by the organized sports community (including the athlete’s primary care provider) and depends on outlining key hygiene behaviors, recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of common sports-related infections, and the implementation of preventive interventions,” the authors write.

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