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Behind The Bench
March 30th 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
One of the least talked about positions on a NFL team is the doctors, therapists, and physical trainers that keep the athletes healthy. In the 49ers case, they are very fortunate to have the team that they do. This past season in fact, the group was honored as best in the NFL, and rightfully so. Not only did the group managed to keep the 49ers particularly healthy this past season, but they also have done a great job or rehabilitating players in the past.

There's an old saying in the NFL where a team is one injury a way from losing season. It certainly holds true in this salary cap forced lack of depth NFL that we know of today. Figure what an injury to Jeff Garcia that forced him out of three games would have done to this season's record. Would the 49ers have made the playoffs?

Sure there is now way a trainer can completely prevent an injury, but they do an awesome job of minimizing the chance of it, and in helping the healing. Again I turn to Jeff Garcia who suffered a MCL injury late in the season, but with the 49ers trainers working on him was able to complete the entire season. Really there are even better examples of just how good this group is. Jerry Rice comes to mind as a stand out case. When Rice went down with a knee injury in 1997 he added a record to his book that no athlete ever wants to try for. But he came back from his injury faster than any player ever had. The injury he suffered after that was un-related. Garrison Hearst is another name on that list. There really isn't a need to explain Hearst's miraculous recovery again - but his unprecedented second NFL Comeback Player Of The Year Award would not have been possible without the 49ers trainers and medical team.

The 49ers are very fortunate to have the skilled workers that they do. They keep their players healthy, they get injured players healed, and they do their job well. Nobody notices these guys, but they are every bit as large a part of the success of the team as the offensive and defensive squads.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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