Dr. York 'perfectly comfortable' with handling of Smith's concussion


Dr. York 'perfectly comfortable' with handling of Smith's concussion

Before there can be any quarterback controversy, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith must receive medical clearance to return to play after sustaining a concussion Nov. 11.

Smith was cleared to practice last week through Saturday, according to the 49ers' practice reports. His participation was listed as "limited." Even team owner Dr. John York said he was surprised when he learned that Smith would not be available Monday night to play against the Chicago Bears.

And under the NFL protocol on concussions, Smith would not be cleared to play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints unless his symptoms clear.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said after the 49ers' game Monday that Colin Kaepernick got all of the practice snaps on Saturday and Sunday, which seems to indicate Smith was experiencing symptoms over the weekend.

Teams are not required to provide an injury update on the day before a game, so the 49ers did not submit any notification of Smith's participation -- or lack thereof -- in Sunday's practice.
The 49ers made the call to start Kaepernick on Sunday before knowing if Smith would gain medical clearance to play, Harbaugh said."Yeah, (we) made the decision Sunday that Colin would start the game," Harbaugh said. "And then we found out Monday that Alex would be out. But that decision was made to start Colin on Sunday."Again, not a big mystery here. Just felt that Alex still had some symptoms on Sunday and we were going to make the decision to go with Colin."The 49ers announced Monday at 10:30 a.m. that Smith was declared out after being evaluated by team medical director, Dr. Dan Garza, one of the leading concussion researchers at Stanford.Dr. York is the chair of the NFL Owners Committee on Health and Safety. After the game, I spoke with him about his team's handling of Smith's situation:"The 49ers handled it according to the (NFL) protocol," York said. "That's what we're supposed to do, and that's what the other 31 teams are supposed to do. So I'm perfectly comfortable with how we handled it."At what point did Alex Smith begin experiencing symptoms?
Dr. York: "This is not avoiding your question, but I don't know the answer to that. That's between the doctors and Alex, so I don't get into that."If he were cleared to practice for four days, I'd assume that means he did not have any symptoms. Is that correct?
Dr. York: "Well, I don't know exactly because I wasn't here all week. You tell me the sequence of where Alex was."He took part in limited practice Wednesday -- well, unofficially Wednesday -- officially on the reports, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Dr. York: "So what that would mean to me is that he did not have symptoms at those times and that in meeting with the neurologist, which he had to do, that he was OK. He probably went through the neuropsychological testing and I don't know at what time he started to develop symptoms. But what you need to understand is if you have a concussion, you might not have symptoms right away. You may have them later. You may have symptoms now, they go away, and they come back. So trying to figure out whether or not he had symptoms on Wednesday or Thursday or Friday, obviously, he didn't have symptoms to the extent that the doctors knew it and Alex felt uncomfortable. I don't know when Alex felt those symptoms."Are you apprised of it as the chair of the committee?
Dr. York: "No. I'm not apprised of it from any other team, nor should I be from our team. I'm kept in the loop as the owner of the team."Do you believe everything is working league-wide as it pertains to the handling of concussions?
Dr. York: "It is far better than it has ever been. Can it improve? I think the answer is yes. But you have a situation where there is a big game between the Bears and the 49ers, and both quarterbacks had concussions. I personally thought that Alex was probably going to play. So I was surprised when he did not. But when I was told that he had symptoms and he was not going to be able to play, that's the protocol, I accept it. Jay Cutler, I don't know what happened to Jay because I'm not privy to that. But he's out. And my understanding is that Michael Vick was out. So you had three starting quarterbacks, all pretty high profile, and not one of them played. And to my knowledge, if they had passed all of the protocols, all three of them would have played."Is that a signal to you that it's working?
Dr. York: "I think it's a signal that people are following the protocols and if you don't clear, you don't play. So we've seen things where we thought we had things covered, and we do other things, such as putting the AT (athletic trainers) spotter in the video booth. There are going to be things that we're going to have to continue to do better and better. So we're going to be diligent about finding out what the protocols are, and that people are following them. And when things need to be changed or improved, we'll do that. But it won't come from me, it'll come from the physicians."

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan is close to completing his 49ers coaching staff.

Shanahan will handle the duties of the offensive coordinator, the position he held with Houston, Washington and Atlanta over the past nine NFL seasons.

Robert Saleh is the 49ers' new defensive coordinator, while Richard Hightower has been hired as the special-teams coordiator.

Here's a look at the 49ers' coaching staffs under Shanahan and last season under Chip Kelly:

Position: Coach (2016 job)
Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (Falcons, offensive coordinator)
Defensive coordinator: Robert Saleh (Jaguars, linebackers coach)
Special teams coordinator: Richard Hightower (Bears, assistant special teams)
Assistant head coach/tight ends: Jon Embree (Buccaneers, tight ends)
Run game specialist: Mike McDaniel (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Quarterbacks: Rich Scangarello (Wagner, offensive coordinator)
Running backs: Bobby Turner (Falcons, running backs)
Wide receivers: Mike LaFleur (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Offensive line: Vacant
Offensive assistant: T.C. McCartney (LSU, offensive assistant)
Senior defensive assistant: Jason Tarver (49ers, outside linebackers)
Defensive line: Jeff Zgonina (N.Y. Giants, assistant defensive line)
Linebackers: Johnny Holland (Browns, inside linebackers)
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Offensive quality control: Taylor Embree (Chiefs, defensive assistant)
Defensive quality control: Bobby Slowik
Head strength and conditioning: Ray Wright

* * *

Position: Coach (current status)
Head coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive coordinator: Curtis Modkins (Bears, running backs)
Defensive coordinator: Jim O’Neil
Special teams coordinator: Derius Swinton
Quarterbacks: Ryan Day (Ohio State, quarterbacks)
Running backs: Tom Rathman
Wide receivers: Bob Bicknell
Tight ends: Jeff Nixon (Baylor, co-offensive coordinator/running backs)
Offensive line: Pat Flaherty (Jaguars, offensive line)
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford (South Carolina, offensive line)
Defensive line: Jerry Azzinaro (Cal, defensive line)
Assistant defensive line: Vince Oghobaase
Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver (49ers, senior defensive assistant)
Inside linebacker: Joe Bowden
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Assistant defensive backs: Roy Anderson (Bears, assistant secondary)
Assistant special teams: Michael Clay
Offensive quality control: Mick Lombardi (Jets, offensive assistant/assistant QBs coach)
Defensive quality control: Tem Lukabu
Senior analyst: Dana Bible
Director of human performance: Mark Uyeyama

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

John Benton, who coached on the same staff during Kyle Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, has reportedly received permission from the Denver Broncos to interview with the 49ers.

The Broncos hired Benton on Jan. 15 to work as the team’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

But Denver coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway provided Benton permission to interview with the 49ers, Denver’s 9News reported. The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were looking at Benton.

The offensive line coach is the last major position that remains vacant on Shanahan’s staff.

Benton worked last season as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Shanahan’s first NFL coaching job was with Houston in 2006, when he coached wide receivers. Shanahan became the quarterbacks coach with the Texans in 2007 before spending the next two seasons as offensive coordinator under then-coach Gary Kubiak.

The 49ers announced nine additions to the coaching staff on Friday.

Also, the 49ers are expected to hire Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, according to The Sporting News. Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.