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Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Cooties of Full-Contact Sports

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 4:25 PM

This germy story made me think of this picture from Masonite Burn during last falls Rosebuds  championships. Those junior derby gals know how to get close.

There's been a hubbub among roller derbers (hmm?) over the last couple days about a scientific study that's been making the internet rounds—all about germs and full-contact sports. Basically after an hour of sweating and slamming into each other, roller derby players have a different batch of microbes covering their bodies after a game than when they started. Yeah, eeew. That's the opposing team all over 'em. It's a really interesting scientific study that was conducted during a big derby tournament in Eugene, where scientist/roller derby gal Jessica Green, director of the Biology and Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon, and her fellow scientists swabbed skaters' arms before a game and then after the game. The after results showed that scientists could no longer accurately say which swabbings were from which team—all skaters' microbes (AKA the good and bad bacteria and viruses that live on our skin, AKA cooties*) had commingled considerably. Which kinda seems like a no-duh—of course, you're going to exchange bacteria with all that skin-to-skin hitting—but it raises a lot of questions, like how long those different cooties stick around, the health benefits of hosting other people's good microbes, and how teams share much of the same microbial makeup throughout their seasons. As I saw one skater describe it, maybe that's why individual teams have individual aromas (again ewwww, but cool, teammies sharing smellies). Check it out, it's a good read!

* Hey, I'm no scientist.

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