On Thursday, league commissioner Roger Goodell was at the Raiders-Broncos game and fielded some questions from the media. On of the topic of concussions, San Francisco's own Alex Smith was used as a direct example.
With concern surrounding head trauma in the league, Goodell was asked about the job security of players. There is the concern that in the future, players would conceal symptoms as a precautionary measure, in fear that they would be replaced.
With Smith's concussion timing up with the transition to Colin Kaepernick, the media was concerned what kind of message that sent league-wide.
Thanks to Eric Branch at the San Francisco Chronicle for providing the transcript:
Q: What message does it send to rest of league that Alex Smith loses job after a concussion?
RG: That it's about safety first. Competitiveness is not going to be the number one driver. It's going to be safety. When someone gets injured those are medical decisions and those have to be made by the medical professionals. The football decisions are made later when a player is healthy. That's what the 49ers have done.
Q: Are you concerned players might hide concussion?
RG: That's always been a challenge for us making sure players self-report. It's not that simple. You have to have a good teammate next to him if he's not right. We have ATC spotters watching from upstairs who can spot when somebody has had an impact that made lead to a concussion so they can be evaluated. You want to make sure they are all evaluated properly and that the right decisions are made from a medical standpoint.