Rice University's Focus on Player Health Starts in the Laundry
February 2014 | Download Testimonial
The Rice University (Rice) Owls — 2013 Conference USA (C-USA) football champs — value team health and safety. “Player safety is my number one priority,” said T-Joe Breaux, assistant athletic director and equipment manager. “This extends beyond helmets, pads and cleats. Locker rooms are close-knit and it takes just one contaminated piece of laundry to spread infection. If you don't have a laundry system that disinfects, you are taking a risk.”Nipping Infection in the Bud
That's why Rice invested in a Sports Laundry System. Proven in clinical studies to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses, including staph and antibiotic-resistant MRSA, Rice's Sports Laundry System tackles dirty football uniforms, socks, towels, loops, girdles and shorts. In doing so, according to Breaux, it helps keep student athletes healthy for practices, workouts and game days. “I can feel secure knowing our laundry is disinfected and the chance of infection among athletes is greatly reduced,” he said.
Breaux maintains laundry productivity has significantly improved, as has wash quality. “Our girdles used to come out dingy. Now our whites are whiter. Before this system, we used fabric softener sheets in the dryer. Now we don't. Our laundry is just whiter and softer,” he said.
In a given day, Breaux and his staff do about 15 50-pound loads of laundry for Rice's 105 football players. “I have other things to do than laundry,” he said. The new system has saved him time by boosting productivity. “On average we can wash a load of towels in 35 minutes and dry it in 30 minutes,” he said. “In the past, it took 45 minutes to dry.”Highly Programmable & Simple to Use
The System is highly programmable to match the specific requirements of varying fabrics. Once programmed, it automatically injects the right chemicals and ozone amounts to disinfect and properly clean laundry. Dave Trotter at Skyline Equipment, in Houston, installed and programmed the system specifically for Rice's needs.
“Just load the washers, select the program number and start it,” said Breaux. “The rest is done automatically. I don't have to worry about selecting the right amount of detergent because it's wired to the machine. A green light comes on and says when the load is disinfected.”How Ozone Works
The System disinfects by introducing ozone into the sump of each washer at precisely the right time and water temperature. Ozone is a powerful and safe cleaning agent that helps break up organic matter during the wash process and uses mostly cool water. It also contributes greatly to overall efficiency and results, according to Trotter. This is why the Sports Laundry System at Rice uses considerably less water than most other laundry solutions.
Keeping athletes healthy is critical to the success of Rice's football team. 2013 marked Rice's first outright football conference championship in 56 years. Athlete health was key to that accomplishment.