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When you finish this chapter you should be able to

  • Explain the structure and function of the skin and identify the lesions that result from skin abnormalities.

  • Describe in detail how skin trauma occurs, how it may be prevented, and how it may be managed.

  • Identify bacterial skin infections that are potentially contagious.

  • Describe the correct hygiene practices to use to avoid fungal infections.

  • Identify potentially threatening viral infections.

  • Contrast allergic, thermal, and chemical reactions of the skin.

  • Identify infestations and insect bites and contrast them with other skin infections.


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sebaceous cyst macerated skin bacillus
cellulitis staphylococcus tetanus (lockjaw)
hyperkeratosis streptococcus tinea (ringworm)


Visit for further exercises to apply your knowledge:

  • Clinical application scenarios covering identification and management of skin disorders

  • Click-and-drag questions covering identification, classification, and signs and symptoms of skin disorders and infections

  • Multiple-choice questions covering skin trauma, skin reactions, bacterial and fungal infections, and skin infestations


It is essential that athletic trainers understand conditions that adversely affect the skin and mucous membranes, especially highly contagious conditions.24,86


The skin is the largest organ of the human body. The average adult skin varies in total weight from 6 to 7½ pounds (2.7 to 3.4 kg) and is from 1/32 to ⅛ inch (0.031 to 0.125 cm) thick. It is composed of three layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutis (Figure 28–1 and Table 28–1).38


Cross section of the skin.

TABLE 28–1

The Skin’s Structure and Function


The epidermis acts as a barrier against invading microorganisms, foreign particles from dirt and debris, chemicals, and ultraviolet rays, and it helps contain the body’s water and electrolytes.85 The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin and itself is composed of several layers identified as the stratum corneum, stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum, and stratum basale. ...

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