New York Giants tight end Daniel Fells’ situation is getting serious.
The long-time NFL’er is battling a MRSA infection that has already forced him to undergo five surgeries and may even cost him his foot. The Giants have been working to help Fells as much as possible since he was rushed to the hospital with a 104-degree temperature after suffering a toe and ankle injury after New York’s week two loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Despite earlier reports, Fells did not have to undergo an amputation and doctors were able to save his foot. He will have plastic surgery on his foot in the next few weeks.
Now, Fells is hoping for the medical best, focusing on simply getting healthy as soon as possible. He tweeted out his support for his team on ahead of the Giants week five matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
Here’s what you need to know about Fells and MRSA:
1. Fells is Suffering From a MRSA Infection Near His Ankle
Shortly after the second week of the NFL season, Daniel Fells suffered an ankle injury. It didn’t appear bad. It was fine.
Then, it was not fine. In fact, it was life-threatening. Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon released a statement on Fells’ situation:
We are working with infectious disease specialists, and we have defined protocols that we are following in consultation with the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network and local infectious disease specialists. Those protocols are being followed carefully.
Fells was quickly transported to the hospital with a 104-degree fever and was quickly diagnosed with a Methicillin-resistent Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection centered near his ankle.
The tight end reportedly developed the infection after receiving a cortisone shot for the pain his ankle. The infection ended Fells season almost as soon as it was diagnosed.
2. He’s Undergone Seven Surgeries & Doctors Fought to Save His Foot
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Fells has already undergone five surgeries in an attempt to clean out the infection and is currently in a private room of the hospital as doctors battle against the infection.
However, that might not be enough.
Rapoport added that doctors are worried that Fells may need to have his foot amputated and is facing even more surgeries in an attempt to make sure the infection does not reach his blood stream.
According to Sports Illustrated, Fells was released from the hospital on October 20 and did not have to undergo an amputation. He had seven different surgeries on his infected foot and has two more schedule as well as a plastic surgery slated.
3. The Giants Have Been Working With Specialists to Help Fells
Although they can’t be with him directly, the New York Giants staff have been working to make sure that Fells receives the utmost care while still in the hospital. Coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese met with Fells earlier this week and the team is working with infections disease specialists to help the tight end battle the disease.
“This is a serious situation that has been taken seriously from the beginning. We’re all fighting for Daniel,” said Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon.
The biggest fear for Fells is that the MRSA infection has already spread into his bone and could soon reach his blood stream. That could have dire consequences that will affect much more than Fells future career. He has already been told he won’t play football again.
The New York locker room, training rooms and meeting rooms were all scrubbed and sanitized while players were briefed on precautions and how to prevent the spread of MRSA.
4. MRSA is an Incredibly Difficult Disease to Treat
MRSA itself is an incredibly difficult disease to treat. Staphylococcus bacteria are thick, round bacteria that much more difficult to break down with conventional medicine than other types of bacteria. That makes treating the infection that much more challenging.
According to the CDC, MRSA thrives in crowded, unsanitary places – like locker rooms – and killed upwards of 11,000 people in 2013 alone.
Of course, Fells battle with MRSA is not the first time the infection has impacted the pro sports world. Former New York Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes saw his career end when a MRSA infection sprouted in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers locker room as did Carl Nicks while with the Philadelphia Phillies.
5. Fells Played With Six NFL Teams Before Joining the Giants in 2014
The former UC Davis tight end was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. He didn’t do much of anything with the squad before playing on the practice squads of the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing a brand-new free agent contract with the St. Louis Rams in 2008.
Fells played 12 games with the Rams and caught seven passes for 81 yards in 2008. In 2009, he notched 21 catches for 273 yards and three and in 2010 he started seven games. He then went on to join the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots and signed with the New York Giants in 2014.
Last season, Fells played in 16 games, hauling in 16 games for 188 yards and four touchdowns. Prior to his ankle injury in 2015, Fells caught six passes for 60 yards.