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 Gymnastic mats, bars and beams constantly see sweat, blood, bacteria, mold and fungi from the athletic environment. With tumbles and falls common in gymnastics, cuts and abrasions are inevitable, creating gateways for infection.

 Equipment bags constantly see sweaty equipment and are often times contaminated with bacteria, creating the famous ‘sweat stench’. Locker rooms are high traffic, damp areas that see hundreds of people every day, making them ideal habitats and easy spreaders of potentially menacing bacteria.


 Oftentimes, gymnastics share the same mats that wrestling teams and other high-contact, sweat filled sports share; increasing the bacterial count and risk of infection. Gymnastics athletes across the nation have increasingly been affected by bacterial infections acquired in athletic settings, including ringworm, athlete’s foot, staph and MRSA.

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 From the pros to youth levels, teams nationally are turning towards SAS for 360 degrees of 24/7 antimicrobial protection against harmful bacteria. A Survey of Microbial Populations in Infilled Synthetic Turf Systems.” According to the press release, the “study debunks the staph scare in synthetic turf” and “infill systems are not a hospitable environment for microbial activity.” In reality, the study data only supports that bacteria are alive and well in synthetic turf systems. It can be extremely harmful in ice hockey gear.
 Upon review of the study data by a Ph.D in biochemistry and an award winning microbiologist/ antimicrobial expert, it is clear that despite the PR claims, this study confirms the existence of a wide array of microbial life including bacteria and fungi on the substrates of the tested synthetic turf systems. The New England Journal of Medicine, Clinical Infectious Disease Center, and a long list of clinical hospital studies have long supported the fact that the MRSA bacteria can survive on and be transferred by inanimate objects in the environment from towels, to garments, athletic equipment and polyethylene (a plastic used in synthetic turf fibers). The Journal of Clinical Microbiology in 2000, studied MRSA’s ability to survive on a variety of substrates ranging from cotton to polyethylene plastic and found that in clinical study, “Staphylococcal viability was longest on polyethylene plastic (22 to >90 days).” The data in the Penn State study captures further evidence that bacteria exist in even the smallest samples of infill material and synthetic fibers of infilled synthetic turf systems. The following addresses the sample size and findings from the study.
 Minimal Sampling Size – Large Bacteria Count
A typical 80,000 sq. ft. football field has between 280,000 lbs (rubber) and 800,000 lbs (sand/rubber) of infill material and over 33 billion synthetic grass fibers. In the Materials & Methods section of the Penn State study it cites that 20 fields were evaluated with two 1-inch fibers of synthetic grass and .075 grams of infill material from each.
  The study attempts to draw conclusions about which type of bacteria do or do not exist based on a sample of 0.00000000058% of the infill on the field and 2 of 33 billion fibers. This is hardly representative. In fact, a 1% infill sample would have required the analysis of 3,628,720 grams (8,000 lbs) of sand/crumb rubber per field and 330,000,000 fibers per field, not 2.
  With a sample so insignificant, to declare that MRSA cannot grow on these fields is an improbable conclusion. In addition to these clinical and academic institutions the following athletic industry professionals and athletic trainers have either been effected or are becoming increasingly more aware of the threats of microbial contamination on synthetic turf. The Atlanta Falcons. Force had an outbreak this summer during mini-camps and determined the turf at the Ga. dome to be the cause. Actually it isn't the turf but the millions of small rubbernecks that act as dirt AI1 the beads had to be removed, the turf had to be cleaned and then all the beads had to be cleaned before reapplying them to the field. So yes there have been cases of MRSA outbreaks attributed to outplaying surfaces.''

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