Skin infections among US high school athletes: A national survey

Kurt A. Ashack, Kyle A. Burton, Teresa R. Johnson, Dustin W. Currie, R. Dawn Comstock, Robert P. Dellavalle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background Skin infections have long been a reported problem among high school athletes, particularly wrestlers. There has yet to be a national study describing the epidemiology of skin infections across multiple high school sports. Objective We sought to report the epidemiology of skin infections among US high school athletes. Methods High school sports-related skin infections resulting in time loss were reported by a convenience sample of US high schools from 2009/2010 through 2013/2014 via High School Reporting Information Online. Results During the study, 474 skin infections were reported among 20,858,781 athlete exposures, a rate of 2.27 per 100,000 athlete exposures. The largest number of skin infections occurred in wrestling (73.6%) followed by football (17.9%). The most common infections were bacterial (60.6%) and tinea (28.4%) infections. Body parts most often affected were the head/face (25.3%) followed by the forearm (12.7%). Limitations The study included only high schools with National Athletic Trainers' Association-affiliated athletic trainers, which may limit generalizability. However, using athletic trainers as data reporters improved data quality. Conclusions Skin infections are an important subset of high school sports-related adverse events. An understanding of the epidemiology of sports-related skin infections should promote awareness and drive evidence-based prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-684.e1
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • athletes
  • competition
  • high school
  • injury
  • prevention
  • skin infections
  • sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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