CHICAGO, March 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- It's not uncommon for young athletes to develop skin disorders and viruses including staph infections, ringworm, and impetigo. As March is National Athletic Training Month (NATM), Athletico Physical Therapy is using the observance as an opportunity to educate parents, coaches and athletes about the importance of practicing proper equipment and personal hygiene in youth sports. As accredited and certified professionals with a presence at youth to professional sports, athletic trainers can help make sure young athletes practice appropriate hygiene to avoid serious skin infections and diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 80 percent of communicative diseases are transferred by touch, skin-to-skin or skin-to-surface. This creates a risk for serious infections and diseases, especially to youth athletes. Additionally, poor hygiene and cleanliness can predispose student athletes to other serious illnesses such as influenza, strep and staph infections. Unlike college and professional sports teams, which have full-time equipment managers, parents are often the equipment managers for youth athletes.
While athletes often have a pregame ritual, Athletico athletic trainers say it's just as important to have a proper post-game and practice routine that involves proper hygiene and equipment-cleaning. To keep athletes healthy and on the field, Athletico athletic trainers are providing five tips that youth athletes, parents and coaches should incorporate, including:
- Safely washing blood-soiled uniforms: to avoid contaminating other clothing, wash uniforms soiled in blood separately. Flush stained area with cold water, work laundry detergent into stain, let garment sit for 15 minutes and wash fabric as recommended.
- Common post-game/practice showering mistakes: loofas are often used well past their "shelf life," which means they are filled with bacteria. Use a washcloth instead, because people are likely to wash them more regularly. Athletico athletic trainers also suggest showering with a gentle soap as these tend to do a better job removing germs.
- Athletic padding is a bacteria breeding ground: athletes often store pads and equipment in bags and backpacks immediately after use, when they are moist and sweaty. Air dry equipment after each use to keep it from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and to keep foul odors at bay.
- Sanitize helmets regularly: helmets, regardless of sport, are often overrun with germs and bacteria because they are not frequently cleaned. Using a washcloth and rubbing alcohol or a vinegar/water solution, scrub the interior of the helmet weekly.
- Be aware of the team/organization's cleaning protocol: ask your child's coach about the procedures used to ensure the team is healthy and able to perform to their potential. Parents have a right to be in the know and should ask questions and offer suggestions.
"Athletic trainers play a prominent role in keeping both youth and professional athletes healthy on and off the field," said Jason Bannack, Athletico's Vice President of Outreach Services. "Beyond recognizing, treating and preventing musculoskeletal injuries, these individuals work tirelessly to educate parents, athletes and coaches on the importance of practicing proper athletic hygiene, especially regarding equipment management."
In honor of this year's NATM theme, "ATs Are Health Care," Athletico's athletic trainers created detailed information to help parents better understand tips for proper equipment management, as well as information on an Athletico trainer's role in disease and infection prevention.
At Athletico, about 400 athletic trainers work alongside physical therapists to help provide comprehensive sports medicine support for patients on and off-the-field. Patients can address any concerns with a free assessment – in-person at a local Athletico clinic or online through our virtual assessments – that includes a detailed subjective report of your body's complaints and assess movement and strength impairments.
NATM is coordinated in conjunction with the National Athletic Training Association. Athletico has been an active supporter of the National Athletic Training Association since 1991.
About Athletico Physical Therapy
Athletico Physical Therapy provides the highest quality orthopedic rehabilitation services to communities, employers and athletes in over 450 locations throughout twelve states with more than 5,000 employees. Athletico is committed to our patients and referring physicians through our patient-centric focus, positive work environment, attention to quality and high standard of care. Athletico measures patient outcomes and satisfaction and is dedicated to continuous improvement. Athletico was named #1 Workplace in Chicago, "Best Physical Therapy Practice in the Nation" by ADVANCE magazine, Top Workplace in the Nation and has been recognized as a leader in employee volunteering and charitable giving. Our services include physical and occupational/hand therapy, workers' compensation, women's health therapy, concussion management and athletic training. For more information, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit www.athletico.com and follow us on Twitter at @athletico.
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SOURCE Athletico Physical Therapy