msnbc.com news services
updated 8/5/2005 9:05:55 PM ET 2005-08-06T01:05:55

The Oregon teachers board reprimanded a high school football coach for licking the bleeding wounds of student athletes, school officials said on Friday.

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The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission placed Scott Reed, 34, on two years probation and ordered the coach, who is also a science teacher, to attend a class on the risks of blood-borne pathogens.

Last summer, Reed gave students at Central Linn High School near Eugene, 100 miles south of Portland, a pep talk about a coach who had licked and healed players' wounds so that they could rejoin the game. After the talk, he bent down and licked a cut on a track athlete's knee, the commission said.

Reed, 34, acknowledged the incident last year after parents complained.

The head of the commission, Vickie Chamberlain, said the board felt a public reprimand was necessary "because we were very concerned about his behavior."

Police investigated, but Reed was not arrested. “Sometimes there are actions that are socially unacceptable or bizarre that aren’t necessarily criminal,” Linn County Sheriff Dave Burright said.

Reed did not return calls seeking comment.

Small risk of disease transmission
Saliva-to-blood contact poses a small risk of disease transmission, said Dr. Sarah Hendrickson, public health officer at Lane County Public Health in Eugene.

“We do know that animals lick their own wounds,” she said. “And it may be that saliva has some healing properties. But my very strong recommendation is that you confine yourself to licking your own wounds.”

Complaints filed against Reed also cited other risky behavior, such as licking blood from wounds on a football player's arm and a high school student's hand. Parents said if Reed had had an open wound in his mouth, the licking could have spread an infection such as HIV or Hepatitis B and C.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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