We've got some rather shocking news this morning. Dr. Dan Garza, the 49ers medical director and team physician, passed away last night at his home. Dr. Garza was also an assistant professor medical researcher at Stanford, and they were the ones to first report the news of his passing. There was no immediate word on the cause of death.
Dr. Garza was an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and of emergency medicine, but his most well-known work at the university was in the study of traumatic brain injury in athletes. He was in the midst of studies on the risk of concussions in which he fit athletes with specific mouthpieces that could measure the impact of collisions. As Stanford described it, much of his work specialized in real-time bio-mechanical and physiological monitoring of athletes.
In his time with the 49ers he was most well known as the sideline doctor who diagnosed concussions during the game. However, he was involved in a lot of other aspects of player health. I actually had a chance to meet him in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. We discussed heat illness and technology the 49ers were using to combat it during games and practice.
I only met him once but he was a very friendly man who was passionate about the heat illness topic. Given all the time he spent researching concussions and other medical topics, you have to have a certain amount of passion for the topic and learning. The world has lost a good man.