MRSA in Athletic Facilities is a Legal Hazard

MRSA can cause dangerous infections. Did you know that it can also result in costly lawsuits? See why MRSA in athletic facilities is a legal hazard.


Did you know that staph infections can lead to 20,000 American fatalities in a single year? While many don’t think of MRSA when considering serious risks to athletes, it’s one of the most harmful infections out there. Since it’s spread through contact, it also is commonly found in gyms and similar athletic facilities. Here, we’re going to talk about some of the ways that you as an athletic venue’s owner can reduce the risks of an MRSA lawsuit. Read on for a look into this bacterium and the reasons that it’s a legal hazard.


What Is MRSA?

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacterium that causes infections when it comes into contact with people. These infections are commonly referred to as ‘staph infections.’ Most strains of staph are fairly easy to eradicate with common antibacterial cleaners. However, MRSA stands apart from these varieties because it’s extremely difficult to eliminate.

It can withstand pretty much all common household antibiotics. Contact between MRSA-infected surfaces and cuts/scrapes in someone’s skin can cause infections. Basically, it can enter the body via any opening that leads to the bloodstream. Since the bacteria are invisible, they can go into the body via contact with seemingly clean surfaces.

The most common complication that MRSA presents are skin issues such as swollen and painful blisters. These bumps are generally pus-filled and occasionally are accompanied by a fever. This can present long-term issues like cellulitis in addition to being uncomfortable in the short term. MRSA can also cause blood infections, respiratory issues like pneumonia, and even heart problems.

Since it’s a highly infectious virus and is detrimental to people’s health, it’s important to identify it and nip it in the bud.


Why Is It a Hazard in Sports Facilities?

But why are sports facilities especially prone to MRSA? The first reason for this is that sporting areas tend to be crowded. Whether you think about gym equipment or locker room benches, there are going to be hundreds of people making skin-to-skin contact with any given object on a single day. Bacteria have more opportunities to spread from person to person in high-traffic areas.

The nature of sports facilities also makes MRSA spread quickly. Those who are active are more likely to get minor cuts and scrapes than those who are sitting still. Because MRSA spreads through blood and open wounds, this heightens the probability that it can enter into people’s bloodstreams.

This is hazardous for the health of those working out, of course, but it can also pose a legal threat to your sporting facility.


The Impacts of Legal Complications

The impacts of a lawsuit depend on the type of sporting facility that plaintiffs sue. If you’re a governmental facility like a public school, you likely are protected by government laws. 

This happened in Kentucky when a student tried to sue for a bacterial infection after scraping himself on a football field’s turf. However, private facilities like gyms and health clubs have a duty of reasonable care for those who work out on their premises.

Gym staff must inspect equipment and have the facilities thoroughly and professionally cleaned. Any business operator, including an athletic facility owner, that doesn’t warn visitors about dangerous conditions is liable for lawsuits. This is called the negligence theory.

When this happens, patrons can sue you for a lot of money. Even if you do warn these people of the risk of infection before they use your facility, they can still sue if you did not outline MRSA as a potential risk. They can also create a lawsuit if you didn’t take reasonable precautions to prevent illness.


Steps for MRSA Lawsuit Prevention

The first step for lawsuit prevention is to have people sign forms waiving their rights to sue.

Gyms often include these clauses in paperwork when people sign up for a membership. If you’re a sporting facility that doesn’t fall into this category, you can still offer up forms that people are required to sign before entering the property. Regardless of your facility’s nature, make sure that you include MRSA on the list of potential hazards. You also can offer those using your facility cleaning supplies.

Encourage people to wipe down weights and machines before and after they touch them. Most people will do this to avoid infections, especially if they know that they can’t sue for medical bills. Unfortunately, since MRSA is resistant to common cleaners like the wipes that you’ll offer, it’s also important to get a professional cleaning every once in a while. 

These experts have the knowledge, tools, and cleaners to ensure that your sporting venue is clean and safe regardless of how much traffic there is. Assuming that your space is clean, you won’t need to worry about anyone trying to sue you. Even if the lawsuit is easily winnable, you don’t want to risk losing money on lawyer fees and court costs as a result of being sued.


Avoid an MRSA Lawsuit With Professional Cleaning

While MRSA can cause a lot of health risks for those that it comes in contact with, it can also pose legal problems for facilities that neglect to eradicate it. Avoid an MRSA lawsuit by sanitizing and thoroughly cleaning your space.

Now that you know some of the ways that MRSA in athletic facilities can cause legal risks, it’s time to get started. Reach out to us to discuss biohazard cleaning services that keep your athletic facility free of hazards and health risks.  


MRSA Outbreak In The Workplace?

Check out these resources to stop the spread of MRSA:

The Dangers of MRSA and the Clean Up Procedures

The Common Types of Bloodborne Pathogens Explained

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