The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have smaller problems than the Philadelphia Eagles this week — as in microscopic problems.
The persistent and nasty skin infection MRSA has claimed a third Buccaneers player. Two players were diagnosed in August, kicker Lawrence Tynes and offensive lineman Carl Nicks. Nicks recently has had a recurrence of his infection. The third player is Johnthan Banks, according to NFL.com.
Various media outlets are reporting that the National Football League Players Association and the National Football League are investigating and will advise the Buccaneers on whether or not to play Sunday’s game in the coming days.
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith in a statement Friday afternoon said the league agreed to the players association recommendation that an outside expert assess the situation.
“We will reach out to the Philadelphia Eagles player representatives today and provide them with our best medical guidance and regular updates from the outside experts,” Smith said.
For now, the Eagles travel plans are on as scheduled, according to various media reports, and the team will depart for Tampa on Saturday.
During a press conference held in Tampa Bay earlier Friday afternoon, team officials and doctors said they are not concerned that the infections are out of control. Dr. Deverick J. Anderson, an infectious disease expert at Duke University, said the infections inflicting Nicks and Tynes are unrelated. He added that their strains of MRSA are different.
Anderson also said at the press conference that a recurrence of an infection, like Nicks’, are common.
MRSA is a strain of staphylococcus bacterium that is resistant to antibiotics. Infections are common in hospitals, prisons, farms, and athletes.
In 2005 the New England Journal of Medicine published an article linking an outbreak of MRSA among five members of the St. Louis Rams in 2003 to abrasions from artificial turf.
In the news conference Friday Tampa officials insisted that the team was working to contain the infections and that everyone in the organization had been briefed on MRSA and how to mitigate the risks of contracting it.
The Buccaneers’ facility has been cleaned earlier this year, in an effort to wipe out the bacteria, and Anderson did not recommend another such sweep after the latest case this week.
Anderson said more testing needs to be done before he knows if the latest case is related to Tynes or Nicks’ infections.
Tynes has an infection on this right foot, the one he kicks with. Nicks has an infection in his left foot.