Avoiding Training Camp Injuries
July 20 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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49ers Pro Bowl Quarterback, Jeff Garcia has not missed a start in two seasons with the 49ers. His health has brought continuity to the team’s offense, allowing it to flourish. This season, like the ones past will depend greatly on the health of Garcia, and the rest of the team. The 49ers are quite aware of this as they enter training camp this weekend, and they will take every possible step to insure the health of their players throughout the summer and into the season.
The 49ers haven’t had real depth on their whole team in quite some time. This season, the team is much closer to having a solid starting and backup line, but there are still some areas that are pretty shallow on the roster. Among them, are offensive line, quarterback and receiver. Despite having plenty of backups for each of these areas, very few of the players in the secondary roles at these positions have proven anything in the NFL. The combination of quarterback and offensive line creates quite a scare when you consider what could happen if the line weakens and Jeff Garcia goes down.
The 49ers will implore several different tactics to avoid the injury plague this summer. Mainly players will participate in most practices without wearing padding, and nearly the entire camp is non-contact. The result is usually some sloppy pre-season play, but has lead to players being fresher as the season progresses.
The team is also going to put extra emphasis on the need to stay hydrated. The weather in Stockton is always excessively warm in the summer, and with the incredible amount of physical activity the team takes part in, water and sport drinks are crucial to keeping muscles and joints loose, and to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke .
Lastly the team’s scheduled ‘two-a-day’ workouts will take place in the morning and afternoon, completing the morning workouts before the hottest part of the day, and starting the afternoon workouts, after the hottest part of the day. This methodology is to make for a much better learning environment, and again to keep players healthy.
The 49ers know that their season depends on whether they can stay healthy. Last season opened with JJ Stokes, Tai Streets, Jamie Winborn, and Kevan Barlow (among others) recovering from injury. The team would like to further reduce that number and keep injuries especially away from the ‘skill positions’.