Infection Threatens NFL Player's Foot

Daniel Fells, New York Giants tight end, could lose foot to MRSA infection


An infection is putting one NFL player's career on the line.

While the New York Giants celebrated a victory against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night, Giants tight end Daniel Fells, 32, was battling a MRSA infection in an intensive care unit. According to an NFL press release, the infection is so severe that Fells might lose his foot.

MRSA — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — is a staph infection that is immune to many antibiotics, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The growing fear is that the infection may enter Fells' bones and bloodstream, reports NPR.

The problems began when Fells sustained injuries to his ankle and toe, requiring a cortisone shot for the pain. One week later, his wife rushed him to the emergency room with a high fever. Doctors then discovered that his ankle was infected with MRSA.

According to a 2007 ESPN report, "MRSA is mostly spread by direct physical contact, but can also be spread by teammates sharing razors, soap, or towels," NPR reports.

Football players have a high risk of staph and MRSA because they sustain many abrasions and open wounds. These infections require skin breaks to cause disease, according to the report.

Many MRSA infections happen after an athlete has surgery, but if there was no surgery, the infection is “community-acquired,” according to the ESPN report. The Giants have scrubbed their locker room "under the supervision of infectious disease specialists” to prevent any infection from spreading to other players, NPR reports.

Though Fells’ infection remains serious, his team has rallied around him.

"This is a serious situation that has been taken seriously from the beginning," said Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon, per the NFL press release. "We're all fighting for Daniel."