Daniel Fells suffered an ankle injury in practice a little over a week ago. Initially, it wasn’t thought to be serious. He was given a cortisone shot for the pain and coach Tom Coughlin was optimistic he’d play last week. Instead, he went to the hospital with 104-degree fever and has since undergone five surgeries to combat a nasty Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection centered near his ankle.
According to a report from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Fells is likely going to have to undergo more surgery to clean out the infection. As of last night, Fells was in a private room with doctors fighting to contain the spread of the infection. If it reaches his bone, it could travel to his bloodstream, and from there, it would be extremely difficult to contain. Rapoport reports that the team is taking it very seriously:
As a team, the Giants have also reacted, working with infectious disease specialists earlier in the week, and these experts defined protocols to follow in consultation with Duke Infection Control Outreach Network and others locally.
Their locker room, training rooms and meetings rooms were scrubbed and sanitized and players were briefed on precautions and how to prevent the spread of MRSA. Meanwhile, Fells remains away from the team, waging his own fight.
MRSA is an incredibly difficult disease to treat. Staphylococcus bacteria are thick, round bacteria that are far harder to break down with conventional medicine than other types of bacteria. An infection ended Lawrence Tynes’s, and Carl Nicks’s careers, and notable outbreaks have sprouted up in the locker rooms of the Buccaneers and Phillies in recent years. Fells has been placed on the IR, but it’s up in the air as to whether he’ll play again.
MRSA has killed numerous athletes, and is a particular threat to them because it thrives in crowded, unsanitary places, like locker rooms. The CDC estimates that 11,285 people died from MRSA in 2013.
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