49ers owner questions union medical survey

San Francisco 49ers owner John York, chairman of an NFL player

health and safety committee, would like to see the union’s study

saying players don’t trust team medical staffs.

He’s not even sure it exists.

York says no one in the league has seen the survey in which the

NFL Players Association claimed nearly three-quarters of its

members don’t trust team medical staffs and are not satisfied with

the way their team manages injuries.

”I don’t know what the questions were. I have no idea how many

players were asked or what the responses were,” York said Tuesday

at the NFL owners meetings.

On the 49ers, York said players, coaches, staff members and

their families use the 49ers’ physicians.

”So I think that’s a pretty good indication that the players on

the 49ers are happy with the way they’re being cared for,” York

said.

The union said in a statement made to The Associated Press it

does not take York seriously.

”Coming from the organization that denied Joe Montana workers

compensation benefits for years, we are not concerned about the

remarks about our player survey,” the statement said. ”The day

the NFL commits itself to taking care of players who have been

injured at work is the day we begin to take these types of comments

seriously.”

During Super Bowl week, the union released its study. York is

perplexed that the NFLPA would conduct its own survey despite a

clause in the current collective bargaining agreement requiring

both sides to do one jointly.

In that joint study, the league and union must agree on who

handles the testing, how questions are asked, and who analyzes the

answers.

”When you go and report that there is a survey by only one of

the entities and that it is negative,” York said, ”I believe you

have muddied the waters so much that you can’t turn around in five

minutes to do another one. So there needs to be some passage of

time before we can do an honest and accurate survey.”

York said his committee and the NFL itself has asked to see the

players’ survey and has gotten no response.

One issue the union stresses in having more independent

physicians involved in diagnoses and treatment of players. York

insists that’s already happening, including on a committee for

which an NFLPA medical expert and a league expert choose an outside

physician to make up the panel.

”We have nine medical advisory committees and then we have a

number of other committees that don’t have anything to do with

anybody within the NFL,” he said. ”They’re all outside

experts.”

York at one point called the union’s study ”a non-existent

survey that is giving data that is damaging.”

”None of that’s shared and you have the information that I just

shared about the 49ers, our players and our physicians and the use

of those physicians – which they are allowed by the CBA and we

encourage them if they want or need a second opinion to do so. I

mean, why am I looking to try to find some outside person that I

don’t know when I have trust in the physicians that are taking care

of our players.”

AP Sports Writer Bob Baum contributed to this story.