SANTA CLARA—SF 49ers rookie linebacker, Donavin Newsom, 23, was taken to Stanford Hospital via ambulance after the team’s practice (which ended early due to Newsom’s injury) on Tuesday, August 8.
The former University of Missouri player was hit in the head and neck during a two-minute drill after striking safety Chanceller James in the midst of breaking up a pass. He fell to the ground, appearing unconscious for about five minutes. He was placed in a back brace while still in uniform. Kyle Shanahan, 49ers Head Coach, shared that Newsom still had feeling in his lower body (and movement) and hands while being placed on a stretcher.
James was allegedly sentimental shortly after the collision occurred. Safety Eric Reid and other players responded upon noticing James’ heavy reaction.
“Me and a bunch of other guys ran after him after when we saw that (James) was taking it tough. In football, or in any other part of life, if you hurt somebody, we all have a conscience. We feel terrible about it. I told him to keep his head up, make sure he checks on Donavin, keep praying about it, but not to blame (himself) for it because that stuff happens when you play this game,” Reid said.
Fellow 49ers players paid homage to their new teammate. They circled around Newsom after his fall, taking a knee and bowing their heads as medical staff stepped in. The practice music blaring throughout Levi’s Stadium was shut off, leaving the facility in utter silence. Some of Newsom’s teammates remained on their knees, praying, after he was whisked away by an ambulance.
“It put things in perspective when you see that happen. It’s scary when you see a guy down on the field that long. … There was a lot of stuff I was planning to say about practice. And when that happens, it puts things in perspective for everyone. You just try to end it,” said Shanahan, who later confirmed that Newsom sustained a concussion, though he did not suffer from any cervical spine injuries.
The team stated on Wednesday, August 9, that Newsom is expected to be released from the hospital later in the day. The free agent signed with the 49ers in May. He stands at 6 feet and 2 inches tall and weighs 240 pounds.
In addition to Newsom’s injury, the 49ers posted nine observation points from Tuesday’s practice.