Brandon Noble is a former American football defensive tackle in the National Football League for the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and Washington Redskins. He played college football at Penn State University.

During my nine years in the NFL, I ruptured tendons in my fingers, suffered multiple concussions, and broke several bones. I tore my ACL, MCL, and PCL, and completely blew out my left knee. That last injury should have ended my career. But it didn’t. I put myself back together and played through the pain.

What finally took me down? A tiny bug I had never heard of and couldn’t see. A drug-resistant staph infection called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus cost me my NFL career—and almost my life.

MRSA is one of many deadly, antibiotic-resistant infections. Together, these “superbugs” kill 160,000 Americans every year. And that number is expected to skyrocket. By 2050, they could kill 10 million people around the world every year.

Right now, countries offer about $550 million annually in grants for antibiotics research and development. But, according to DRIVE-AB, a global public-private partnership advocating for investment into antibiotics, that’s not nearly enough, and does little to help actually bring these drugs to market. It’s time Americans realize just how dangerous superbugs can be, and devote more resources to stopping them.

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