49ers owner questions union medical survey

March 21, 2013

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.