Tag Archives: Mumps

Mumps Affecting Not Only the NHL

By Savannah Malnar

Flu outbreaks aren’t uncommon around this time of the year in professional sports leagues. What is uncommon is the appearance of the mumps in the NHL. Professional athletes are forced to spend an excessive amount of time together in close contact, between sharing rooms on road trips and water bottles in the locker rooms. So when a contagious illness hits one player, it’s likely to spread throughout the team. The interesting aspect about these illnesses is that in the NHL they can spread pretty easily to other teams as well, with all the hard hits and the fighting bringing rival players into physical contact.

The outbreak of the disease started in Anaheim with the defensemen Francois Beauchemin and Clayton Stoner, along with star forward Corey Perry. Other teams that have since reported cases include the Minnesota Wild, the New York Rangers, the New Jersey Devils, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The NHL is doing everything in its power to bring awareness to the disease and ensure that the players have access to booster shots or the initial mumps immunization if they did not receive it as a child.

The media’s primary concern right now seems to be the quality of the game with a disease like this going around. What will the Penguins do without Sidney Crosby while he recovers? Did the Ducks lose games they could have won if Perry wasn’t ill?

One ESPN article brought attention to a less talked about side of the epidemic; the American Hockey League. The AHL is a development league for the NHL, and players move up and down between the leagues on daily basis. Two players and one head coach in the AHL have come down with this sickness. The total amount of hockey players affected is up to 18.

Dr. Gregory Poland, the director of the Mayo Vaccine Research Group, believes that this outbreak is not actually all that uncommon. “To be very frank with you, if 13 students at a junior college in rural Arizona had mumps, you and I wouldn’t be talking. It gets hyped because it’s in (professional athletes),” Poland said. Poland also stressed making sure all players receive the immunization they need; from there it’s just a waiting game. There are no cures or antibiotics available for the disease, so hockey players will just have to do what they do best: tough it out.

Mumps Outbreak Spreads Through NHL

By Nick Muhl

Yes, you did in fact read that last headline correctly. The National Hockey League is currently experiencing a moderate outbreak of the mumps. While NFL headlines argue whether Johnny Manziel should or shouldn’t be a starting quarterback and the NBA is going wild watching the Golden State Warriors fast start to the season, the NHL is investigating one of the strangest stories to hit a major sports league in 2014.

Mumps is “an acute, inflammatory, contagious disease caused by a paramyxovirus”. Symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle pains, fatigue and swollen glands but can be prevented by a vaccine and mostly only affects children.

Currently multiple teams and players have contracted the disease including players on the Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, and several superstars including the Duck’s Cory Perry, the Rangers Tanner Glass, Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Suter, and now most recently the Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby.

Crosby, like many other NHL players, received a mumps vaccine booster shot prior to traveling to Russia for the Winter Olympic games in Sochi. In an interview with ESPN, Dr. Greg Wallace, a lead epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said that “considering the lengthy incubation period of the mumps, it’s virtually impossible to predict how long this outbreak will affect the league.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as the CDC, also reports several hundred to a couple thousand cases of the mumps every year. The high number of cases in a little over a month in the NHL is alarming. However, with close contact locker rooms and multiple games in different cities each week – it is understandable why the disease has spread somewhat quickly and yet the origin cannot be traced.

According to USA Today, the NHL released information to each team regarding the mumps outbreak and how to prevent the spread of the disease. It remains to be seen if the NHL will provide additional support to prevent the spread of the disease, because of its nature there is no telling when the outbreak may end for the league.

While many fans, players, and media want the NHL to track down “patient zero”, it may be more important for the NHL to find a way to prevent the further spread of this disease before the NHL becomes subject to more serious headlines.