Young needs to step away from game

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 1999

O.K., so the concussion Steve Young received Monday night against Arizona apparently did not do any damage.

What about next time?

Hey, I’ll be glad when Young is out of the game for good. He personally has been responsible for beating New Orleans on his own several times over the last few years.

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But I don’t want to see him go out because the next hit will leave him with memory loss or worse.

I’m still in shock that Young did not have a concussion from a hit by New Orelans safety NChris Hewitt the week before.

Hewitt’s helmet hit the front of Young’s helmet and left the 49er quarterbcak dazed.

Hewitt was rightfully fined by the NFL, although he is appealing..

Young underwent an MRI on Tuesday and then met with the chief neurologist at Stanford Hospital, who treated Young when he suffered his last concussion two years ago. He was told the MRI did not show any of the so-called white spots, which are thought to be indicative of progressive brain trauma.

Even after Monday’s hit, Young was walking around on the sideline in uniform begging head coach Steve Mariucci to put him back in the game.

Young lost consciousness for several seconds after the head-snapping hit Monday.

Trying to dodge pressure, Young instead caught the full force of a hit from blitzing cornerback Aeneas Williams. The blow knocked Young backward, and as he fell, his head hit tackle Dave Fiore’s leg before smashing against the ground.

Young came to after a few moments and walked off the field under his own power. At one point, he even tried to talk into letting him re-enter the game, but Mariucci ruled it out. Young then donned a cap and watched from the sideline as Garcia finished. Credit Marriucci for keeping his franchise player on the sidelines.

Young said he has no intention of retiring. He also has had no intention of getting four concussions during his career. The head is just to sensitive an area for the type of blows Young has taken this year.

San Francisco’s offensive line is not as good as it has been and Young does not back down or give up, which is why he is such a great player. Against the Saints, Young was hit 21 times, including five sacks.

There are concerns that repeated concussions over a period of time could lead to future health problems such as premature senility or heighten the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Young has nothing left to prove. He has a Super Bowl ring and most valuable player award. He had the tough task of following Joe Montana, but made fans get over losing Montana pretty quick by keeping the 49ers on top.

Monday’s concussion is the fourth Young has suffered since 1996. Some of his friends and relatives have urged him in the past to consider retiring, and there was concern that one more serious hit could force him out of football.

Hopefully those friends will be more convincing this time around. We want to remember Young walking off the field with his arms raised. Not helped or carried off after another vicious hit.