The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were first hit with the highly-contagious, community-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infection last month and now three players have confirmed cases and are currently being treated for the disease. If the team covered up the infection, the union will file an “Article 50” violation under the collective bargaining agreement.
MRSA is a strain of staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics used to treat other staph infections. Most of these infections happen in hospitals and nursing homes, where there are many opened wounds and injuries. The CA-MRSA occurs in communities of healthy people and not hospitals.
The union is investigating if the team told the players about the infection right away and the medical personnel filed their reports and told the union about the outbreak. General manager Mark Dominick confirmed the infection last month:
“Our primary concern is always the health and safety of our players and staff,” he said. “Our players were informed of the situation and we sought the advice of experts, including the NFL’s medical advisor, who provided counsel and approved of our comprehensive measures including the treatment of our practice facility.”
Kicker Lawrence Tynes was hospitalized with the MRSA infection and the team is trying to cut him. They offered him money and may place him on the non-football injury list. However, the union is fighting this because the team would not pay him his full salary and benefits.
Guard Carl Nicks is being treated for MRSA for the second time this season. He had surgery on his left toe and diagnosed with MRSA in late August. He did not finish the preseason and missed the first two regular season games. The recurrence may cause him to have another surgery to scrape the infection off the bone. The team sanitized One Buc Place twice, but do not know where Tynes and Nicks were exposed to MRSA.
On Friday morning, the team confirmed a third player was diagnosed with MRSA and will not name the player because of HIPPA laws. Adam Shefter of ESPN tweeted that the NFLPA could put off this weekend’s game between the Bucs and Philadelphia Eagles, but the league said the game will be played.