Sunday, October 13, 2013

Buccaneers' Johnthan Banks cleared to play with MRSA infection

Cornerback Johnthan Banks, the third Tampa Bay Buccaneers player diagnosed with MRSA, is not a risk to transmit the severe staph infection to other players and has been cleared to play Sunday, the NFL announced Saturday night.

In a statement, the NFL said it worked together with the players' association and that a "jointly retained specialist has met with the team, supervised the inspection of the facilities, conducted medical examinations and agrees with the team medical staff that Mr. Banks does not pose a risk of transmission to other players."

The league also said the specialist met with team officials from the Philadelphia Eagles, whom the Bucs host on Sunday.

Banks was recently diagnosed with MRSA, the severe staph infection resistant to most antibiotics. The bacteria have been known to cause boils, abscesses, impetigo, septic wounds, heart-valve problems and toxic shock syndrome. In extreme cases, it can result in death.

People with weakened immune systems who have been infected with Staphylococcus aureus require treatment with antibiotics to help clear the infection. The concern with MRSA strains of bacteria is that they are resistant to a number of the antibiotics that are normally used to treat Staphylococcus aureus infections.

The NFLPA had questioned whether the game should be played at Raymond James Stadium because of concern that the players would be at risk to contract the infection at the Bucs' facility.

Two other Buccaneers players -- kicker Lawrence Tynes and guard Carl Nicks — contracted MRSA in August. Tynes, who has since been placed on the non-football injury list, is still being treated for the infection. Nicks did not play until Week 3 because of the infection.

On the team's injury report Friday, Banks and Nicks were listed as questionable to play Sunday.

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