The 2010 – 2011 season seemed to be filled with more injuries than usual despite the NFL’s attempt to make the game safer. These injuries span from a sprained to the dislocated, the bruised to the broken. These injuries often times set teams in search for someone to fill the hole. These holes are sometimes irreplaceable for the season, and sometimes a special reserve player steps up to exceed expectations. In these hours of need no one is as valuable as the on hand medical staff. The trickle down from on the field spot diagnosis to the surgery, they are irreplaceable, and vital to the season picture.
As 49ers fans we have felt the season impacting injury more than a few times. To their credit our medical staff has performed well. However, I think it is time we bolster the medical staff like as if it were our offensive line. This is one of the few areas separating the 49ers from current and past super bowl teams. We currently employ one director of sports medicine, one team medical director, two assistant athletic trainers, and three orthopedic surgeons. When looking at teams like the Steelers (Ten) or the Colts (Twelve), or even the Packers (Ten), compared to the 49ers (seven) it seems like we have some room to improve. The extra medical staff does not prevent injuries or necessarily overcome the injury instantly. What the extra staff brings to the table is most importantly time and care. This could mean the difference of days to a week, the difference between having a surgery tomorrow or at the end of the week, or more importantly the difference between a player with a festering minor injury hindering his play and not. While adding to the staff, spending a little bit more on upgrading the onsite medical facilities at both the stadium and the practice field will pay dividends in the end.
For us as fans it is exciting to see our favorite players take the field. What is even more exciting is to see our favorite players play healthy. The 49ers star players’ being healthy is great, but it’s when the first and second strings are healthy, that will give us the greatest chance of winning. The combination of additional staff and upgraded medical facilities will ensure the maximum output from the team. That is why I say the 49ers should make the move to get the additional three to five staff and upgrade the medical facilities no matter the cost.