The ability of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith to return to game action on Monday night won’t be the slam dunk that many believed it would be.
Smith received clearance several days ago to return to practice. Cam Inman of BayAreaNewsGroup.com reports that Smith won’t receive clearance to play on Monday night against the Bears until Smith passes a “contact” test.
It’s a procedure that apparently isn’t used for every player returning from a concussion. Inman explains that 49ers tackle Joe Staley didn’t receive clearance to return from a concussion earlier this season until he passed a “contact” test. 49ers guard Daniel Kilgore simply had to pass a computer-based reaction-time test to get final clearance to play.
And it doesn’t seem to be a rule specific to quarterbacks. Earlier in the season, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III received clearance to return to practice on a non-contact basis. He thereafter received clearance to play by staying symptom free after three non-contact practices.
It suggests a lack of consistency in the concussion protocol, placing before some players different hurdles than other players face. In Smith’s case, the use of a “contact” test could keep him from playing on Monday night, if the “contact” in any way causes him to experience concussion symptoms.