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Coffee County Schools address concern over athletes and possible staph infections

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Editor's note: The following is a press release issued by the Coffee County School System Friday, Aug. 28. Douglas Now has not edited the content of the release, with the exception of minor changes to grammar and punctuation. The accuracy of the information presented within this release has not been investigated by this organization.

During the monthly school board meeting of the Coffee County Board of Education, several parents of football players voiced their concern to the school board about rumors circulating that several players had contracted a staph infection.  With students’ safety a number one priority in all situations, Dr. Morris Leis, Superintendent of Schools, immediately investigated the matter on Friday morning and was told through the athletic department that no cases of staph infections have been confirmed. There were three students who were treated for the symptoms of staph, but it was not confirmed through the attending physicians.

"On August 25, following notification that our three players could possibly have a staph infection, our athletic trainer, Mr. Ben Swafford, fogged the boys’ locker room as a precautionary measure.”  Stated Dr. Leis.  “Additionally, our weight room and training rooms are wiped down daily at the end of class during the normal school year and summer training.  The players’ weight lifting clothes are also washed daily on the campus of Coffee High as an added safety measure to not spread germs and bacteria.”

The athletic program of the district is very cognizant of the fact that staph infections are common among athletes of all sports, particularly those with skin to skin contact such as football and wrestling. Protocols are and have been in place for many years to maintain a proactive approach with the students’ safety at the forefront. If an athlete thinks they may have a staph infection, they should report it to their team coach immediately and certainly their health care provider for further evaluation. Coffee County Schools is fortunate to have a sports trainer on staff that is knowledgeable and proactive in dealing with matters such as staph.

The best way athletes can prevent staph infection is through good hygiene, education and enforcing proper prevention techniques. The school system will continue to monitor the situation.

"The Coffee County School System is committed to providing a healthy environment for all of our students.”  stated Dr. Leis.  “Steps have been taken to keep our facilities clean and to address possible infections such as staph. The safety of our students is our number one priority and that includes maintaining a healthy environment in which our students can learn and compete.”

“I fully support our coaching staff and I am confident that our student athletes’ well-being will remain at the forefront of everything that we do. The Coffee County Schools, which includes our athletic department and coaches, has a long history of caring for our students and teaching our young people to compete in the classroom and on the athletic field.  We will continue to focus on our mission of 'Destination Graduation for College Career and Life'."

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