Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Pregliasco, Bridgette O.

Author's Keywords

MRSA; Infections; Methicillin resistant staph aureus; Athletic trainers


Staphylococcal infections; Sports medicine; Athletic trainers--Training of; Athletes--Health and hygiene


The majority of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) are caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and antibiotic resistant strains pose a greater challenge for effective prevention and treatment. Although recommendations outlining procedures for prevention have been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), the actual adherence by the athletic training staff is unclear (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010; National Athletic trainers' Association, 2010). MRSA can result in devastating illness and staggering healthcare costs, and deaths of athletes have been reported (Ellis, 2007). The current study used the Health Belief Model to examine the impact of SSTIs on college athletic programs prevention policies. A survey was developed and sent to department heads of colleges and universities that were NATA members. Data were collected on the prevalence of SSTIs, their impact on policy, and variation in standards of treatment. Responses from 78 trainers indicated that although respondents were aware of guidelines for prevention and treatment and most had policies in place, they varied as to which elements were included as standard treatments and which are believed to be most effective. While there does appear to be wide variation, the standards of practice, changes made since the emergence of MRSA, and strategies believed to be most effective all reflect CDC and NATA guidelines, indicating that overall the majority of athletic trainers are being proactive. The study found MRS A to be more prevalent in male athletes and in football players. These populations should be targeted with prevention efforts. The results of this study also suggest that the effect of SSTIs on team performance is a stronger predictor of change in policy to prevent infection that hospitalization. Future research examining the barriers that prevent health care providers from implementing guidelines, and investigating why athletic trainers choose to implement particular guidelines and not others, could be illuminating for future prevention planning. Research should also focus on obtaining the perceptions of other populations involved. These include parents, recreation and intramural sports staff, and residence life personnel.