Indiana Firm Takes on Olympics Challenge: Bacteria

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An Indiana company named Sports-O-Zone supplied athletic sanitizing equipment for Olympic hockey players. This system uses ozone to thoroughly sanitize hockey equipment and uniforms to prevent the spread of serious staph infections such as MRSA, which are a growing concern with contact sports.

As hockey players from across the globe gathered to compete in the recent Winter Olympics, an Indiana firm named Sports-O-Zone was there to protect these stars from a seldom-mentioned but growing menace in contact sports: staph infections.

The recent passing of former Secretary of State Alexander Haig Jr. from a staphylococcal infection underlines how deadly such bacterial infections can be, not only for the old, but also for athletes of high school and college age along with professionals, where deadly and debilitating cases have been reported. Even for athletes who recover, the process of shaking the infection can be grueling, especially for highly drug-resistant strains such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).

Those who participate in contact sports are particularly vulnerable because of the cuts and scrapes they can easily acquire, which provide passageways for bacteria into the bloodstream. At the same time, their extensive equipment, such as helmets, shoulder pads and hockey gloves, provides a host of moist breeding spots for microbes than can be easily transmitted in the confines of an athletic arena, playing field, and locker room.

In Vancouver, Sports-O-Zone provided the on-site opportunity for Olympic hockey teams to be pro-active in controlling microbial growth in/on their equipment. The company provided two of its sanitizing units to offer sanitizing options for some 500 men and women hockey players during the past two weeks.

“It was a privilege to assist at this level of international competition,” said Mark Eades, Sports-O-Zone’s director of sales. “It is also recognition by the International community of how serious a problem this can become. Teams right now are looking for better options in what has become an increasingly tough battle with drug-resistant microbes. It’s not something teams necessarily like to talk about, but it’s a problem that extends into a lot of areas.”

“Our system produces ozone through corona discharge, which is similar to the way nature produces ozone during a lighting strike. The ozone gas, safely contained inside our unit, disinfects more thoroughly than any other method,” said Eades. With Sports-O-Zone’s Sanitizing System, this sanitization is also a very efficient process, with a single load (which could be a couple dozen football helmets, for example) taking 14 minutes.

Indeed, police SWAT teams, the U.S. Border Patrol, and a number of military units have also used Sports-O-Zone’s sanitizing process. “There is a growing awareness of how serious these infections can be and that precautions need to be taken in all kinds of environments,” said Eades. “This can mean developing better sanitization processes for everything from day care toys to lab coats.”

“Just as athletes seek to raise their game to the level of Olympic competition, we’re looking to raise bacteria control to a new level as well.”

For more information about Sports-O-Zone and the challenge of athletic infections, visit

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