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MRSA Infection Continues to Plague Buccaneers' Nicks

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USA TODAY
October 11, 2013 Friday
FA CHASE EDITION
SPORTS; Pg. 6C
469 words
Buccaneers' Nicks again battling MRSA;
Infection in guard's left foot initially diagnosed in August
Tom Pelissero, @TomPelissero, USA TODAY Sports

A month after Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Carl Nicks declared himself MRSA-free, the infection has returned to his left foot, general manager Mark Dominik told news reporters Thursday.

"This is a recurrence for Carl Nicks of the MRSA -- same place, same location," Dominik said. "From everything we've been told and understand, this does happen, which is why MRSA is a bacteria that is hard to treat.

"Talking to the infectious disease specialist who's been treating Carl and working with us, with other professionals, he also confirmed he believes strongly this is the same infection he's dealing with."

Nicks and Buccaneers kicker Lawrence Tynes were diagnosed with MRSA -- a staph infection that is resistant to some antibiotics -- in August during combined practices with the New England Patriots.

Nicks, 28, had an infected blister on the side of the foot. At one point, the infection spread to one of Nicks' arms, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak on the matter.

But Nicks responded well enough to treatment to return to the Bucs lineup in Week 3 and started the last two games before popping up on the injury report Wednesday.

Tampa Bay spokesman Nelson Luis denied Nicks' infection spread to his arm.

Tynes, 35, had an infected toe on his right foot. He was placed on the non-football injury list and sent to Kansas City, where he began receiving antibiotics at home.

His wife, Amanda, who has used her Twitter account to criticize the Bucs' handling of the situation, wrote Thursday: "Thoughts are with Carl Nicks. MRSA is such a serious infection. I hope he seeks OUTSIDE doctors whose main concern is getting him healthy."

The Bucs had their facility sanitized twice after the initial outbreak in hopes of preventing the infection from spreading to other players.

The NFL Physicians Society issued a memo last month reminding all team physicians to remain vigilant about trying to prevent MRSA infections and said it was acting at the league's request, according to a memo obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

With no tried and true prevention, the best way to avoid MRSA infections is through hand washing and good hygiene. The close quarters of an NFL locker room, where towels are shared, increase the risk of bacteria spreading.

An NFL physicians survey determined there were 33 MRSA staph infections leaguewide from 2006 to '08 -- 11 a season among the 32 teams.

The St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers are among the teams with documented cases.

According to the NFL's Fall 2012 Health & Safety Report, also obtained by USA TODAY Sports, NFL Charities awarded a grant three years ago for a study on the prevalence, distribution and fate of MRSA infections on synthetic turf grass systems.

October 11, 2013

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