This release was first posted in January, 2007 by the
Michigan Intercolelgiate Athletic Association.

Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) schools, of which Hope College is a member, has implemented a program designed to lessen the risk of the transmission of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) among its athletes.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other SSTIs are being recognized and transferred with increasing frequency in community settings. If left untreated, MRSA can cause significant disability or even death.

The MIAA has provided its member schools with CleenFreek® anti-microbial towels for use during athletic contests and other "shared" towel situations. The towels are treated to eliminate the transfer of bacteria from one athlete to another in a "shared" towel situation.

The MIAA member institutions are Adrian, Albion, Alma, Calvin, Hope, Kalamazoo, Olivet, Saint Mary's and Tri-State.

The league-wide action, approved by the MIAA Board of Control, was in response to concerns by the sports medicine staffs at member colleges. It was noted that athletes might be put at risk of serious infectious disease by "shared" bench towel environments.

"The conference felt appropriate education prevention measures, including the introduction of a conference-sponsored purchase program of anti-microbial towels, was warranted," said Commissioner David Neilson.

The MIAA is believed to be the first collegiate conference in the nation to provide the anti-microbial towels to its member institutions. The towels are distinctively green, matching one of the conference's logo colors.

The MIAA has also adopted a policy aimed at helping its member colleges implement practices that reduce the risk of skin and soft tissue infections for its student/athletes at all conference competitions.

The policy was prepared using the recommended practice guidelines of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and National Athletc Trainer's Association (NATA).

Dr. Kirk Brumels, head athletic trainer at Hope College, chaired a sub-committee that developed the policy and action plan.