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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics


Best Practices for High School and College Athletics



You've seen the scary pictures--patients whose knee or arm or neck has been attacked by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a virulent bacteria that is especially hard to treat because it is resistant to many antibiotics.

You know that MRSA can be spread by skin-to-skin or skin-to-equipment contact, making it a particular danger on the field and in the locker room. You've put up posters from the Centers for Disease Control and talked to your students about hygiene.

Is that enough?

Maybe not. This Web site puts MRSA prevention and management into an ethical context. It suggests that a good program pays attention to best practices that come out of an ethical approach to the disease. These materials are intended to help high school and college athletic directors, coaches, trainers, and the athletes themselves combat the emergence and spread of MRSA.

The materials were shaped by a conference held in October 2010, "Thinking Ethically About MRSA," hosted by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Denise and John York, and the 49ers Foundation. The 49ers organization also provided expert resources on how the disease is handled in professional athletics.

Basic Information About MRSA and How to Combat It

49ers Head Physician Dan Garza explains the medical aspects of MRSA 

Understanding the Ethics

Center Bioethics Director Margaret McLean lays out some tried and true ethical approaches to MRSA

An Ethics Case About Managing MRSA

Ethics Center Executive Director Kirk Hanson discusses the importance of ethics in dealing with MRSA

Useful Resources on Preventing, Identifying, and Managing MRSA

A comprehensive set of materials including definitions, causes, diagnosis and treatment. A special section for coaches and athletic directors, plus downloadable posters and other educational resources

From the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a quick outline of the problem and ways to address it

An introduction to MRSA, including a slideshow illustrating what an infection looks like

Information for patients on MRSA testing and what to do if you test positive

Picture courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Oct 23, 2015