At just 29 years of age, at the height of his physical powers and recognized as the best at his position in the game, MRSA finally did to Tampa Bay Buccaneer all-pro guard Carl Nicks what no opponent could – it ended his career.
On Friday, Mr. Nicks made this announcement: “I’d like to thank the Buccaneers organization for working with me as I have attempted to get myself back on the football field. However, after careful consideration, I have made the decision to step away from the game. This was by no means an easy decision, but I believe that it is what is best for me and my family as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”
Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht said: “I know this has been a difficult time for Carl and his family, but we respect his decision and thank him for his effort in trying to get back on the football field.”
It all started so innocently. During training camp last August Carl’s foot blistered and became infected. He took antibiotics that seemed to work but after just 2 games – the last he will ever play – MRSA returned. The infection spread to the nearby bone and that required surgery.
But that never did the trick either. Media reports characterized Carl’s attempted return much like this one: “Though Nicks was never seen during the voluntary portion of the Bucs’ offseason work this year, there were signs that he was hoping to return. He was limited to jogging and rehab drills. He said he was prepared to live with the pain and nerve damage the rest of his life.”
There are tens of thousands of MRSA stories like this just in the US alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MRSA is a “serious threat” to public health because it causes about 80,461 severe infections and 11,285 deaths a year.
On Friday we got our answer.