Former NFL center’s lawsuit questions sanitary conditions in facilities

July 26th, 2010 - 10:54 pm ICT by BNO News  

FAIRFIELD, CONNECTICUT (BNO NEWS) — Former NFL center LeCharles Bentley’s lawsuit against the Cleveland Browns raises health concerns in professional sports training facilities, locker room and stadiums, says Steve Levine, President and CEO of AtmosAir Solutions.

On July 22, Bentley sued the Browns over a career-ending staph infection he says he contracted at the team’s training facility. Staphylococcus is a group of bacteria that can develop into several different infections, which normally affect the skin, and in some cases, could develop to become life-threatening. The infections can be contracted through insanitary conditions as these bacteria can easily survive on dry surfaces.

“Assuring NFL facilities have clean air is not only crucial for a player’s health, but when a team spends millions of dollars on its athletes, it’s just a very smart way to protect your investment,” said Steve Levine, President and CEO of AtmosAir Solutions, whose air-purificaion company already works with the Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs.

Staph infections at athletic training facilities are often traced to contact with bacteria. Treating surfaces is generally temporary. A more permanent fix is installing air purification ionization systems. They rid the root of these infections over extended time and help insure athletes remain healthy and germ free.

Bentley’s attorney, Shannon Polk, said the lawsuit filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court seeks at least $25,000 in damages for alleged fraud and negligent misrepresentation. Polk said Bentley nearly died from the infection while he was rehabbing from a knee injury.

According to the NFL, Bentley tore the patella tendon in his left knee on the first team drill of the Browns’ 2006 training camp. He had multiple surgeries but never played a game for the Browns, although he returned to compete in the team’s minicamp in 2008 before asking for his release. Bentley in 2007 explained that he had undergone four operations since getting hurt, the final two to clean out the staph infection, which ate away at his tendon. The virus became so severe that doctors considered amputating his leg.

“The Browns convinced LeCharles to rehab at their facility,” Polk said. “Nothing required him to do it. That wasn’t part of his job. They told him their facility was the best and that they had successfully helped others. But they never told him about a host of unsanitary conditions there, and they never told him about the list of others who contracted staph before he chose to rehab there.”

“Had the Browns disclosed that stuff to him, had they been straight with him, he would have never agreed to rehab at their training facility,” Polk added. “The man nearly died from the staph infection he got there.”

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