Skip to Main Content

We have a new app!

Take the Access library with you wherever you go—easy access to books, videos, images, podcasts, personalized features, and more.

Download the Access App here: iOS and Android


©Phil Stapleton


When you finish this chapter you will be able to:

  • Discuss how infectious diseases are spread and how they may be prevented.

  • Explain what bloodborne pathogens are and how they can infect fitness professionals and athletes.

  • Describe the transmission, symptoms and signs, and treatment of hepatitis B (HBV).

  • Describe the transmission, signs and symptoms, management, and treatment of hepatitis C (HCV).

  • Describe the transmission, symptoms, and signs of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

  • Describe how HIV is most often transmitted.

  • List the pros and cons of sports participation of athletes with an HBV or HIV infection.

  • Identify standard precautions as mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and how they apply to the coach.

  • Discuss the various types of skin wounds and how they should be managed.


It has always been important for any health care provider to be concerned with maintaining an environment that is clean, sterile, and safe to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases and bloodborne pathogens.5 But in 2019 a new type of coronavirus was identified as being responsible for an infectious disease outbreak in China. What was initially identified as sporadic (only occasional occurrence), quickly became endemic (regular cases often occurring in a region), then epidemic (an unusually high number of cases in a region).34 This disease spread so rapidly that by March 2020, the World Health Organization had declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic. No one could have imagined that this isolated initial outbreak would ultimately impact the lives of every human being in the entire world.

In our new world, it has become critical for EVERYONE in the population to take personal responsibility for doing everything they can to protect themselves and others by taking essential measures that may mitigate the spread of infectious diseases and bloodborne pathogens.21 Failure to do so may subject any individual with whom they come in contact to potentially life-threatening consequences. Because of the close often physical contact that occurs through athletic participation, the potential for spread of infectious diseases among athletes and sports medicine personnel must be of significant concern.


Infectious diseases are the invasion or infection of a host (a person or animal) by microorganisms called pathogens.27,35,36 A pathogen causes disease by either disrupting a vital body process or stimulating the immune system to mount a defensive reaction.23 An immune response against a pathogen, which can include a high fever, inflammation, and other associated symptoms, can be more devastating than the direct damage caused by the pathogen itself.33 The most common pathogens are microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi.36 A microorganism can live harmlessly in a host without causing infection. Over ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.