SANTA CLARA -- Alex Smith spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since sustaining a concussion Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. He has been cleared for limited practice.
"I feel good. It's better," Smith said.
What's your status?
"Just going along with the process right now. Nothing has been decided. It's a long process. It's up to the doctors. But I'm just doing what they're telling me and moving along."
Obviously, you've been cleared for on-field activity. What enabled you to get on the field today?
"They have their certain tests. You meet with the neurologist. Impact test, and stuff like that. And depending how you do, and symptoms, the next step is out there, physical activity."
What's an impact test?
"It's our baseline test that we take."
Did you see multiple neurologists?
"No, I only saw the neurologist up here at Stanford."
Did you take part in full practice?
"Contact, obviously, is the final straw. But I was able to go out there today. I had the black jersey on, which is a little redundant, seeings as how we don't get hit in practice. But I feel good out there."
What did you feel and how did you know it was a pretty good hit and you needed to be looked at?
"It's tough to describe. For me, the vision was the biggest thing, for sure. (I've) taken a lot of hits over the years, and all of a sudden to try to play quarterback and your vision is not what it should be is difficult. And for me ultimately it did not get better. It was like one of these things I could blink off and my focus was returning. In fact, I went on the sideline and sat down and it seemed to continue to get worse. It wasn't getting better. Ultimately, I didn't feel it was good for me or more importantly it was not good for the team to go out there. I didn't feel like I could help us much."
When did your vision get better?
"After the game."
Were you able to drive right away?
"I think I could've, but I didn't drive home, though."
We all saw the Jo-Lonn Dunbar hit. Do you think that hit contributed?
"That's a great question. It's all kind of speculation. It certainly didn't help. It certainly, yeah, talking to the neurologist, yeah, it probably contributed for sure. Whether it loosens you up and primes you for the next one that's not as big, don't know. I felt fine after that, though. I definitely know I took a big hit. But vision was fine. The sneak was definitely when I came up and my eyesight, kind of first gone wrong.
"I tried to blink that one off and thought it might go away and played the four of five plays after that. That series ends and I come off to the sideline and tried to collect myself and see what's what. And it continued to get worse and worse. That's when I got evaluated."
How do you feel this week compared to last week at this time?
"The same. Totally the same."
When you say you went to Stanford, was that Dr. Daniel Garza (team physician who is on the Stanford staff)?
"No, no. Separate neurologist up there, independent of the team."
Were there other symptoms that were concerning to you?
"Nothing with the memory. Definite headache, nausea, stuff like that after. But no memory loss."
"I feel good. I felt good today. Everything I've kind of gone through, I feel good. It's not up to me, though. It's a better question for the doctors. They have a lot of stuff they're looking at. I'm not really sure what my answers are going to tell them. They're checking my symptoms."
Is it safe to say you're not concerned?
"At this point, I feel like it's early. I feel it's early in the week. We got some days to make a decision. I feel good though."
If if were up to you and the game was tomorrow, do you feel like you could play?
"It's kind of a pointless question. It's not up to me. I feel good. Like I said, I felt like I could go out there today and was fine."
Did they tell you when they are going to make the decision?
Were these symptoms similar to what you experienced last year after the Dallas game?
"More severe. Similar in the sense that it was my vision. Last year, was not even close to this, though, I felt like. Like I said, last year I didn't think it was anything. It was new, but I really felt like I could continue to play and it wasn't anything . . . I didn't even know to report, I guess. This year, for sure, I felt like I couldn't go out there and play."
For a young player, it's always, "Coach, put me back in the game." Is it tough decision to report a problem and keep your future in mind?
"To be honest, it's not so much that. I think that's the way you should be thinking, but for me ultimately, it's tough to play quarterback without your eyes, when you can't see and see well. It's 22 guys screaming around out there. You see bits and pieces of things and flashes of things and those all help you make decisions. All of a sudden it was a bunch of stuff out there that I couldn't make out. And I just felt I couldn't help the team."
How did you complete three passes in a row after that?
"That's a great question. I have no idea. I mean, it wasn't like I was blind. I don't want to make it seem like that. But I certainly didn't feel like I should go back out there. And I didn't think it was going to continue. I was very concerned I'd go back out there and hurt us. I didn't think it would continue down the road."