Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Thinking Ethically About MRSA

A Conference for High School and College Athletic Personnel

Combating MRSA, a virulent, antibiotic-resistant staph infection, can present a serious medical challenge for athletic personnel at high schools and colleges. Spread mostly by skin-to-skin contact, the bacteria can easily be passed from one player to another on the field, in the locker room, or with shared equipment. Implementing best practices for preventing the infection also has an ethical side: It takes moral courage to make key decisions when a player is infected.

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Denise and John York, and the San Francisco 49ers Foundation hosted a conference Oct. 14, 2010, to engage high school and college athletic directors, trainers, and coaches in a dialog with 49ers staff about best practices for dealing ethically with MRSA.

John York, co-owner and co-chairman of the 49ers, kicked off the conference with an explanation of the issue and how MRSA became treatment-resistant. York is a noted pathologist, who began his business career in 1982 as founder of DeYor Laboratories in Youngstown, Ohio. York was followed by a student athlete, who described her own experience with the disease.

Other elements of the conference included:

Panel 1: MRSA-What is it and why is it a problem?

  • Moderator: John Fowler, Health and Science Editor, KTVU-TV
  • Peggy Weintrub, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UCSF
  • Daniel Garza, Head Team Physician/Medical Director, San Francisco 49ers
  • Scott Shaw, Director of Sports Medicine and Head Athletic Trainer, SJSU

Presentation: An Ethical Framework for Thinking About MRSA

Kirk O. Hanson

Panel 2: The Unavoidable Ethical Dilemmas of MRSA in Athletics

  • Moderator: Kirk O. Hanson, executive director, MCAE
  • Casey Batten, Head Team Physician, U.C.Berkeley
  • Mike Cembellin, Director of Sports Medicine, SCU
  • Christine Dion, Head Volleyball Coach, Notre Dame High School
  • Jeff Ferguson, Head Athletic Trainer, San Francisco 49ers
  • Mike Machado, Head Football Coach, Valley Christian High School
  • Jared Muela, Youth Football Coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
  • Bill Shaw, Parent

Presentation: Energizing Ethical Best Practices

Margaret R. McLean, Director of Bioethics, MCAE

Materials on MRSA generated from the conference


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