QB Alex Smith
Press Conference - November 14, 2012
San Francisco 49ers
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How are we feeling?
"I feel good. Yeah, feel good, better."
What's your status?
"Just going along in the process right now. Nothing's been decided. This is a whole long process and stuff. It's up to the doctors. Just kind of doing what they tell me and moving along."
You've clearly been cleared for on-field activity. What enabled you to get out there on the field today?
"There are certain tests. You go meet with the neurologist, the ImPACT test, stuff like that. Depending on how you do, symptoms, the next step's then obviously out there physically."
What's an ImPACT test?
"It's our baseline test we take."
Did you see multiple neurologists?
"No, I only saw the neurologist up here at Stanford."
Were you able, today was a non-padded practice, were you able to take part in everything in the afternoon after we left?
"Yeah, contact, obviously, I think kind of like the final straw, but yeah, I was able to go out there today. Had the black jersey on me, which is a little redundant, seeing as how we don't get hit in practice, but yeah, felt good out there."
Could you tell what you felt and how you knew that it was a pretty good hit in that you needed to be looked at?
"It's tough to describe. For me, the vision was the biggest thing for sure. We've taken a lot of hits over the years and for all of the sudden to try to play quarterback when your vision's not what it should be was difficult. Then for me, ultimately, it didn't get better. It wasn't like one of these things that I could blink off and my focus was returning. In fact, went on the sidelines, sat down and just seemed to continue to get worse. Wasn't getting better and ultimately I didn't feel like it was good for me, or ultimately, more importantly, it was not good for the team to go out there. I didn't feel like I could help us much."
When did your vision get better?
"After the game."
Were you able to drive right away or anything?
"I think I could have. I didn't drive home though."
We all saw the Rams LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar hit. Do you think that contributed to what happened?
"That's a great question. It's all kind of speculation. Certainly didn't help. Talking to the neurologist, yeah, probably contributed for sure, could have. Whether it loosens you up and primes you for the next one that's not as big, don't know. I felt fine after that though. I definitely know I took a bit hit, but vision, as far as anything like that, I felt fine. The sneak was definitely, when I came up off the sneak was when my eyesight was first gone wrong."
Did they examine you between quarters?
"They did not, so I kind of, like I said, tried to blink that off, thought maybe it might go away, played, whatever, the 4 or 5 plays after that. That series ends and then came off the sidelines trying to collect myself and see what's what, and it just continued to get worse and worse. That's kind of when I got evaluated."
A week ago, when you came back from a game, how do you feel now compared to that week?
"The same. Totally the same."
When you say you went to Stanford, was that 49ers Medical Director Dr. Dan Garza or another doctor?
"No, separate neurologist up there, independent of the team."
Were there other symptoms that were concerning to you? Headaches, memory, anything else but the vision?
"Nothing with the memory. Definite headache, nausea, stuff like that after, but no memory loss."
It went away by the next day?
The fact that you were able to take part in practice today, even non-contact situation, how optimistic since you have Monday night that you'll be able to play?
"I feel good. I felt good today, everything I've kind of gone through, I've felt good. It's really not up to me though. It'd be a better question for the doctors. They have a lot of stuff they're looking at. I'm not really sure what my answers are even telling them. They're checking my symptoms, things like that. I feel good."
So it would be safe to say you're not concerned?
"At this point it's early. I feel like it's so early in the week. I think we've got some days to make the decision. I feel good though."
If it were up to you, if the game was tomorrow, do you feel like you could play?
"Kind of a pointless question. It's not up to me. I felt good like I said, I felt like I went out there today and was fine."
Did they tell you when they were going to make the decision?
Were these symptoms, were they similar to what you experienced after Dallas last season?
"More severe. Similar in the sense that it was my vision. Last year was not even close to this though. Like I said, last year I didn't even think it was anything. It was new but really felt like I could go out there and continue to play and wasn't anything. I didn't even know to report. This year for sure, I felt like I couldn't go out there and play."
For a young guy, the line of if you're a football player it's always been, coach put me back in the game I can tough through it though and then to actually prioritize what you might be thinking later on in life, but you're still a young guy. Is it hard to kind of put those all together?
"Yeah, I mean to be honest it's not even so much that. I think that's the way you should be thinking, but for me ultimately it's tough to play quarterback without your eyes, when you can't see and see well. It's 22 guys screaming around out there and you see bits and pieces of things, flashes of things and those all help you make decisions. All of the sudden it was a bunch of stuff out there that I couldn't make out. I just felt like I couldn't help the team at all."