Page 26 - Athletic Health Handbook
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increased over the past decade.5 The than their non-athlete peers.6 Male effects of strenuous exercise on the
overall risk of meningitis remains athletes, particularly those involved in fetus. Thirty minutes of moderate-
low, but freshmen and students contact sports, appear to be at greatest level exercise on most days of the week
living in dorms, especially those with risk for alcohol-risk behaviors. Plainly, is the recommendation for both the
radiator heat, are at increased risk counseling on alcohol use and univer- pregnant and non-pregnant woman.
[MMWR]. The available vaccine sity policies needs to exist as a key However, sports with high risk of
does decrease the risk of meningitis component of athlete education. contact and blunt abdominal trauma
and it should be made available to should be limited. These include ice
student athletes. Tobacco Use hockey, soccer, basketball, gymnastics,
and skiing. Scuba diving also should
MRSA The use of tobacco by athletes is be avoided due to the risk of compres-
A growing concern exists for methi- characterized by both positive and sion sickness. The return to sports
cillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus negative trends. On the positive after pregnancy should be an individ-
among athletes. Reports of MRSA side, athletes have been found to ualized process. While rapid return
infection in fencers, wrestling, and smoke various forms of tobacco less to strenuous training after pregnancy
football athletes have been made commonly than their peers. Addition- has not been shown to have any
from 2000–2003. The CDC has ally, the more competitive the athlete adverse effect, gradual return to
investigated the outbreaks and iden- the less likely they are to smoke. On activity is recommended. The physi-
tified three potential concerns for the negative side, however, both male ologic changes during pregnancy are
athletes: (1) the sharing of protective and female athletes are more likely to still present post partum for four to
padding or unwashed clothing, partake in the oral form of smokeless six weeks.9 The return to activity
(2) close skin to skin contact, and tobacco. While 9.3 percent of male should be guided by the athlete’s
(3) athletes who compete with open high school students use smokeless general fitness levels and medical
abrasions are placed at risk for trans- tobacco frequently, that rate increases condition. For those athletes who
mission of MRSA. Recommendations to 15.8 percent in male collegiate wish to breast feed, exercise has not
for prevention of MRSA transmission athletes. Male athletes are 32 percent been shown to decrease the quantity
include good personal hygiene and less likely to smoke regularly, but are of breast milk production. Nursing
adequate wound care. Athletic equip- 26 percent more likely to use smoke- mothers should attempt to breast
ment should undergo regular, sched- less tobacco. That rate increases to an feed prior to exercise to prevent
uled cleaning; athletes should be alarming 64 percent in upper level increased acidity of the breast milk
instructed to shower with soap and athletes.8 Clearly tobacco use rates and the discomfort of exercising with
water after participation. Wound indicate that screening and prevention engorged breasts.9
management should include covering of oral cancer needs to be addressed
of open wounds for competition. in athletes of all ages. Conclusion
In addition, wound cultures should
be done routinely in high-risk popu- Participation During Clearly, the physician that treats
lations with infected wounds. Pregnancy and the Return athletes is presented with a sizeable
to Sports after Pregnancy list of health considerations that relate
STD/HIV specifically to that patient’s on-the-
College-aged athletes have more The athlete who becomes pregnant field endeavors. However, that physi-
sexual partners and less condom use will undergo a unique set of adapta- cian is also presented with the chance
than non-athletes,7 placing them at tions to the cardiovascular and to promote the overall well-being
increased risk for sexually transmitted musculoskeletal systems. The changes of the athlete during interaction that
diseases (STD), including HIV. to the body include increased weight is a byproduct of the athlete’s sport
gain and a change in the center of activity, whether it is during the pre-
Risky Behavior gravity, increased force across weight participation exam or during injury
bearing joints, increased laxity in liga- treatment. Taking a step back from
Alcohol Use and Binge Drinking mentous structures, increased blood considering the sport-specific exam
Research indicates that college athletes volume, heart rate, cardiac output, or treatment to evaluate and promote
drink alcohol more often — and in and increased VO2. The current the overall wellness of the individual
larger quantities — than non-student recommendations for the competitive is the most positive and beneficial
athletes.6 They also report more athlete during pregnancy are focused use of that opportunity.
incidences of drinking and driving around the effect of pregnancy on
the ability to compete, as well as the

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