By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There is a warning for athletes about a contagious and potentially dangerous infection.

Many athletic programs are starting with schools back in session, and that puts athletes at risk. There are new recommendations to guard against spreading MRSA, a staph infection that’s often resistant to most antibiotics and can be difficult to treat.

Kyle Frey wrestles for Drexel University. His sport is all about body-to-body contact, and that’s a risk. Doctors say contagious skin diseases are common among athletes, especially those in contact sports.

Kyle didn’t think anything of it, when he developed a bump on his arm. He casually scratched it. That was a mistake.

“It started as a small pimple on my left arm. I noticed on Saturday and by Monday, it grew to the size of my biceps,” said Kyle. He had developed a serious case

of MRSA.

According to one study, 56 percent of infectious diseases in competitive sports, from high school to the pro level, are skin diseases. That’s why the National Athletic Trainers’ Association released recommendations designed to cut down on the number of skin illnesses in athletes.

“The lessons that we learn today are the same lessons we learned in our sixth grade health classes,” said Dr. Stephen Zinder, an athletic trainer.

The new guidelines say athletes should shower after activity, and not share towels, razors, or gear. Equipment and locker rooms need to be cleaned and maintained daily, and whirlpools or common tubs should be avoided.

Skin infections like MRSA have been reported among athletes mostly in high physical contact sports like wrestling, football, and rugby, but they’ve also been linked to just about every other sport.

For more information on MRSA prevention, visit

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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