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49ers fire head athletic trainer



© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers have taken another step in addressing the injury issue that plagued the team throughout the past two seasons. On Friday, the 49ers fired head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson, who had held that role since 2006. Last week, the team fired head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright, who joined the 49ers before the 2017 season.

“Following a thorough evaluation, we have determined that now is the right time for a reboot in the structure and protocols of our health and performance areas,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement. “On behalf of our entire team, Kyle and I would like to thank Ferg and Ray for the dedication and passion they brought to the 49ers organization. We would like to specifically recognize the contributions Ferg has made to the 49ers over the last 13 years, as he was always ready to extend a caring hand to our players, staff and their families. Both he and Ray are tremendous people whom we respect deeply, and we wish them and their families nothing but the best.”

Throughout the past two seasons, 41 49ers players were placed on injured reserve. Of the 19 during the 2018 season, the two most notable were franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who suffered a torn ACL in Week 3, and running back Jerick McKinnon, who tore his ACL about one week before the 2018 season started.

The majority of the starting defense missed time. Every starting secondary member missed at least two games this past season. Attrition at the safety spots forced the 49ers to cycle eight different players there throughout the year.

The offense endured injuries, too. Receivers Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, and Pierre Garcon all missed multiple games. Garcon played in just eight games for the second straight season.

Three 49ers running backs, none named McKinnon, left games this year with injury. Those include Matt Breida, who was hampered by an ankle injury all year, Raheem Mostert, who broke his arm in Week 9, and Jeff Wilson, who left the season finale with a leg injury.

“It’s been too big of a deal for two years,” Kyle Shanahan said last month. “Injuries are pretty random, but it’s also affected us huge.”