When an Athletic Training Student contracts a communicable disease he/she is required to visit the Student Health Center for an evaluation. The ATS must bring documentation from the Health Center to his/her respective Preceptor and/or Program Director or Clinical Coordinator clearing him/her to participate in the respective clinical rotation. The documentation must be specific as to when the ATS may return to his/her rotation.
Communicable diseases are those diseases which are spread due to the close association with student-athletes and other patient populations. The most common are respiratory in nature. The ATS should be cognizant of his/her symptoms and the severity of those symptoms. When in doubt, visit the Student Health Center, ask your Preceptor, Clinical Coordinator or the Program Director.
It is the responsibility of the ATS to inform his/her Preceptor, Clinical Coordinator, and/or Program Director of the illness and the amount of time the student will be missing.
Official Statement from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association on Communicable and Infectious Diseases in Secondary School Sports
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) recommends that health care professionals and participants in secondary school athletics take the proper precautions to prevent the spread of communicable and infectious diseases.
Due to the nature of competitive sports at the high school level, there is increased risk for the spread of infectious diseases, such as impetigo, community acquired methicillin-resistant staphylococcus infection (MRSA) and herpes gladiatorum (a form of herpes virus that causes lesions on the head, neck and shoulders). These diseases are spread by skin-to-skin contact and infected equipment shared by athletes, generally causing lesions of the skin.
The following are suggestions from NATA to prevent the spread of infectious and communicable diseases:
• Immediately shower after practice or competition
• Wash all athletic clothing worn during practice or competition daily
• Clean and disinfect gym bags and/or travel bags if the athlete is carrying dirty workout gear home to be washed and then bringing clean gear back to school in the same bag. This problem can also be prevented by using disposable bags for practice laundry.
• Wash athletic gear (such as knee or elbow pads) periodically and hang to dry
• Clean and disinfect protective equipment such as helmets, shoulder pads, catcher’s equipment and hockey goalie equipment on a regular basis
• Do not share towels or personal hygiene products with others
• All skin lesions should be covered before practice or competition to prevent risk of infection to the wound and transmission of illness to other participants. Only skin infections that have been properly diagnosed and treated may be covered to allow participation of any kind
• All new skin lesions occurring during practice or competition should be properly diagnosed and treated immediately.
• Playing fields should be inspected regularly for animal droppings that could cause bacterial infections of cuts or abrasions
• Athletic lockers should be sanitized between seasons
• Rather than carpeting, locker or dressing rooms should have tile floors that may be cleaned and sanitized
• Weight room equipment, including benches, bars and handles should be cleaned and sanitized daily
National Athletic Trainers’ Association