By Jon Delano

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After a hot practice or a hard-hitting game, a high school locker room can be, well, odiferous.

“You don’t even have to be in the locker room to be able to smell some of the odors that come out of there, so yeah, it can get pretty raunchy, absolutely,” says Vince Sortino, athletic director for the Baldwin-Whitehall School District.

And those odors can be a warning sign of something more serious.

“Odor is the tell-tale sign of microbes. Odor is the result of microbes perspiring and breathing and releasing their own odors,” says Adam Rice, a local pharmacist. “So when you smell something, there are germs causing that odor.”

Already this year, some schools have had outbreaks of Staph, MRSA, and other skin infections.

“I think it’s a concern for every school district, including Baldwin,” Sortino told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Baldwin is one of the first school districts to use Brozone, a mobile sanitizing van to clean sports equipment pioneered by pharmacist Adam and his brother, Mark Rice, a certified athletic trainer.

Ozone is just three oxygen atoms. You breathe O2. This is O3. The third oxygen, what it does is when it hits the bacterial cell wall, it destroys it, killing the bacteria,” explained Rice.

In 45 minutes, equipment is taken from locker to van, sanitized, and returned to the locker room for about $10 for each equipment set.

But as important as cleaning equipment is, students themselves are important to keeping things clean.

A key reason for these infections is lack of personal hygiene.

How about a clean T-shirt and clean undergarments every day, or a clean towel every day?

And what about a shower after every time you exercise?

Sports officials say students are less and less likely to take a shower, contributing to the problem.

It’s not like the old days, says Sortino.

“We all got a shower after every practice no matter what sport we were taking,” he says.

Today’s kids often race out without showering or re-use dirty T-shirts, making Brozone’s unique cleaning more important than ever.

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