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Niners Concerned After Young’s Second Concussion

November 11, 1996

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) _ Steve Young, staggered by a second concussion in three weeks, almost certainly won’t play next Sunday and teammates worried about the physical toll on the 49ers quarterback from the succession of head blows.

Young was described as ``very doubtful″ for San Francisco’s upcoming game against Baltimore, though coach George Seifert left open a slight possibility that he could suit up if he receives clearance from his neurologist.

Young was scheduled to see a specialist Tuesday, although team physician Dr. James Klint has already recommended that Young sit out at least one week.

Elvis Grbac would start against the Ravens if Young can’t play.

Young’s latest concussion, suffered during Sunday’s 20-17 overtime loss to Dallas, was not as severe as the initial concussion sustained Oct. 27 during the first series at Houston, but the repeated episodes are troubling.

``That definitely sends up some red flags,″ said left tackle Steve Wallace, who has suffered concussions in the past and now plays with a special bubble covering the top of his helmet for added head protection. ``I’d take a little time and get myself well.″

Seifert said the team is taking all due precautions and the possible cumulative effect from the concussions remains a serious concern.

``Troy Aikman has gone through the same thing and is still playing effectively as we all saw (Sunday),″ Seifert said. ``It’s something that is part of the game, but to where we are in this situation, I’d be surprised if it’s to a Chris Miller position or Al Toon. I don’t believe it is, but I’m not a doctor and I can’t emphatically say that’s the case.″

Miller, a former quarterback with the St. Louis Rams, and Toon, who played wide receiver for the New York Jets, both were driven into retirement after suffering repeated concussions.

Tight end Brent Jones said he’s worried Young, who’s also been bothered by a chronic groin strain, might try to continue playing when he should give himself more time to heal.

``I hope Steve’s smart enough to realize _ and I’m sure he is _ that football is not more important than the rest of his life,″ Jones said. ``It’s just a good precaution to make sure he checks that out and is smart with that.″

Young, who has been plagued by injuries this season, has missed all or parts of seven games.

He has been bothered by the groin problem since pulling the muscle in the second game of the season.

Young suffered a concussion against Houston when he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from linebacker Micheal Barrow. Against Dallas, Young was knocked out in the second quarter after absorbing a head-on tackle from linebacker Jim Schwantz and another hit later from blitzing safety Darren Woodson.

Seifert said Young, who in the past has been able to avoid most direct hits through his scrambling, isn’t as mobile this season because of the lingering groin injury.

``It’s not as though this groin situation has gone totally away,″ Seifert said. ``He is better but I’m sure that has an impact on everything that’s taking place as far as his movement is concerned. ... He’s trying to do something that he’s not, which is a standup quarterback in the pocket. Before he used to have quick feet and he didn’t have these problems.″

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