49ers hire sports-science specialist Ben Peterson

The 49ers have hired sports-science specialist Ben Peterson, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic. Peterson will be in charge of both the 49ers’ training staffs and medical staffs — the team has fired both its head trainer and strength coach this offseason.

Peterson has never worked in the NFL or with a football team. He previously worked with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers as their Director of Sports Science and Performance.

Do you think Peterson will reduce the number of injuries the 49ers sustain next season? Why or why not?

This article has 87 Comments

  1. This is one position where zero nfl experience is not a huge deal..i trust the organization with this one.

  2. Chances are there won’t be as many key injuries this season. Even if I was the head trainer.
    And I have to question the integrity of some of the players to be honest.

  3. No one really knows anything about him other than that he’s from the NHL. So any opinion that me or anyone else would have of him would be unintelligent at best.

    1. Some one posted an article on him, and he sounds very astute. I am glad they are thinking outside the box, because what they were doing previously, did not work.

  4. I wish Mr. Peterson good luck, and hopes he can transition to football seamlessly. I hope he can rely on some good assistants, with more experience with football injuries.

    1. Do you think Peterson needs a Soft Tissue Injury Mitigation Coordinator (STIMC), or can he do that himself?

      1. Well, sounds like he wrote the book on the subject, so he might know a little about that subject.

  5. The hire shows a commitment by the organization to provide the players with optimum results from a performance and health standpoint, and that in and of itself should instill greater confidence from the players. Whether or not it achieves the desired results remain to be seen….

  6. Do a little more research. This guy is highly respected and has worked with many athletes across multiple sports. For what the 49ers want to do, this is the perfect hire. Peterson co-authored a highly acclaimed book about training methods that prevent soft tissue injuries. He’s at the top end of the human performance industry. I have no idea if the 49ers will experience fewer injuries but if they are looking to add science and a holistic performance discipline then this is a great hire.

  7. A little early to say Grant, don’t you think?

    At a minimum I think the 9er’s training and conditioning aspect of club operations will be a bit more disciplined and holistic. Increasing amounts of ‘standardized’ data are likely to be used in analytics (gasp). If all 9er players sat on stationary bikes through all of ’19 (and didn’t play a single down), then one might see some bio-metric improvements and reductions in injuries. However, the 9ers will be in OTAs, camp, preseason, and regular season–characterized by rather violent collisions, planting and cutting at full speed, turning at odd angles to catch passes and landing hard, etc., etc. Lot’s of variables in play when big, fast, angry people try to disassemble other big, fast, angry people.

    Those prone to issuing immediate judgement will decide Peterson’s effectiveness very early. The first major injury will trigger calls for firing Peterson. More pragmatic types will be interested in seeing how the 9ers have fared at season’s end.

    Does look promising. Let’s see what the end of seasons ’19 and ’20 look like.

  8. Catapult Sports
    2 years 10 months
    Director of Research and Analytics
    Catapult Sports
    September 2015 – August 2016 1 year
    Working with the players and performance coaches of elite teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and NCAA Divsion I. I help teams identify and evaluate contextual analytics by measuring training volumes, (accelerations, decelerations, change of direction speeds, biomechanical and physiological load quantifications), in real time, to improve performance outcomes and reduce soft tissue injuries of athletes.

  9. NHL hockey might even be more violent than the NFL. The number of soft tissue injuries, especially groin, is much higher in the NHL according to his data. His approach also maximizes speed, strength, etc. in any/all athletes. Imagine improving our burst strength and speed off the line. He sure seems to be state-of-the-art in his approach, especially nutrition.

    His real-time data approach is ideal for our director. Who he hires to actually do the work will be very interesting. I remember Lynch was way ahead of his time as a player with nutrition. Been waiting to see what happens in this area under him.

    1. My reticence is, there are ankle and knee injuries, which do not seem to be as much as a problem in hockey than in football. Cleats can stick in the turf, while skates slide on a slippery surface.
      Glad he has experience with teams from different sports.
      The first thing I hope he does is take down that ramp. Sounds like the players did not like it.

  10. This seams to fit the direction the 49er were planning on moving in this area. The 49ers said they wanted to bring both the Medical, and Strength & Conditioning staffs together, rather than having them act as two separate departments in the building. John Lynch said in that the 49ers interviewed eight candidates and had two to follow-up with after the Super Bowl.

    Looking at his background, it seems like Peterson could certainly be the right guy. The first thing Peterson will need to do though is hire replacements for recently fired Jeff Ferguson (Trainer) & Ray Wright (Strength & Cond). The plan is that Peterson will oversee both departments as a bridge of sorts, and I really like the idea of this approach. Safe to say the 49ers aren’t pussy footing around. They recognized the need to overhaul these departments, and now they have their director. This guy obviously knows his stuff. The next step will be finding the right guys to lead both departments of which Peterson will now oversee.

  11. Grant, he was a 6’7″ 295 lb Offensive Lineman at Northwestern (Division 1 football program ) before he pursued a Masters and PhD. So in this case he does have some experience with football albeit not in the current capacity for which he was hired. I am sure he will be able to relate to NFL players as long as his ideas/methodologies help reduce injuries and enhance the players’ recoveries from injury. He appears to be on the cutting edge and quite qualified but just lacking in NFL experience. This may end up being a great hire. Time will tell.

  12. They are going to regret this hire , the first time there is a game altercation and a Niner pulls the jersey over an opponents head and proceeds to beat the cr@p out of him.

  13. One thing I hope he changes is the coaching mindset. Saleh says he wants his players to play violently.
    Violence leads to injury, so I hope they drop the violent rhetoric. I hope the Niner defense plays in control, with proper quick, rapid application of focused force.

  14. Well, considering the staff didn’t blame the former strength and conditioning coaches for the injuries… I think its the wrong question to ask.
    Kyle moved on from the former staff members because they didn’t feel their players were wearing down too quickly in games, and were not “finishing” with enough energy per reports. As that’s the reasoning be it the truth or not… the question should then be “Do you think the 49ers will close out games with more energy than previously.”
    That said I would image the injuries will remain about the same but they will not be as devastating as they were this past year.

  15. The 49ers under Jed York have established themselves at the forefront in introducing new ideas into the operation of an NFL franchise. Lately, a first time HC who is regarded by his peers as an offensive genius despite a losing record, a DC who previously rose to become a defensive linebacker coach but who studied under some of the great minds of the game, and a former sportscaster who had absolutely no experience or training in the duties of a general manager. Generally people that you can say have so little experience for their jobs as to make then anything other than neophytes in the image of the Jed (the head neophyte.) This is just another example of the dynamic leadership Jed has brought to the organization and we all can expect that he will, as always, be accountable for maintaining the winning tradition carried out under the York ownership. Oh, I forgot to mention, you can order a Wolfgang Puck pizza and a bottle of Merlot from your seat at Levi’s by using the 49ers patented seat app. Today’s news is just another example of the leadership and innovation that Jed has brought to the NFL, although most fans when asked say they would rather try the innovation of winning and maybe, just maybe, a playoff game here and there.

        1. I was wondering how long it would take for you to respond in kind with that question. If only Bovada had a betting line on it, because I would have bet the house on it!

          1. Ha ha! Yes.

            Grant has sufficient brass to request the interview and carry it out. Perhaps he’s sought an interview in the past and was denied, or received no response. Forget Jed, go straight to Denise. Be affable, but ask the tough questions.

            Jed deserves to be the piñata, but Denise assembled the piñata and filled it with stuff she approved.

            1. No way the Yorks want to be interviewed…………any of them.

              Among so many other things, this is an ownership that tells its fans-while selling $8 bottles of water-that their is no way that something for shade can be put on the East side of the stadium.
              In the mean time. the Roman Coliseum did just that for its patrons!
              Greed-heads like no others……………

        2. Considering he interviewed Hall of Famer- Eddie Debartolo, not soon enough.
          Although, John Lynch would show class and demonstrate that he is up to the task by taking on a hard hitting interview, by allowing Grant to interview him. Instead, we get pablum and platitudes, with him making fluff pieces. I know he gets really excited, but I would like more insights.
          Jed is actually doing a good job. By keeping quiet, he is not inserting his foot into his mouth. I hope he can sit in his cabana, and let the pros do their job.

    1. Suggest taking all players, coaches, execs, and ownership to Disneyland one night and ride It’s a Small World–over and over.

  16. Broncos trade for Flacco for mid-round pick. But of course Mullens is worth a second rounder, and of course the Broncos would REALLY want him…such an inane belief. SMH. ?

    1. Well, it proves one thing. Just because you’re a Hall of Fame player who hit on one transaction doesn’t mean that you are a competent General Manager. ?

    2. Grant’s evaluation of Mullens seemed overvalued to me at a 2nd-rounder but I’m no expert.

      1. With the lower ranked QB class this year, Mullens has shown he can lead an NFL team and win, even with lesser talent. None of the prospects have thrown a single pass in the NFL, so they are unknown commodities.
        Granted, a second round pick may be too optimistic, but it depends on how desperate the other team is. Mullens would be a big upgrade from Bortles and Tannehill.

      2. Grant says Mullens outplayed that other QB the team got for a 2nd rounder. Maybe 2nd round is too low!

    3. Scangerello treated Mullens like a son, and Mullens beat the Broncos, so they know how good he is, but with JG coming back from an ACL, the Niners want a good backup as insurance.
      Elway obtained a SB QB, so I bet he is happy.
      The QB situation is getting settled. Now, I wonder where Foles will land. Eagles will not want to send him to the Skins or Giants, so the Jags or Miami may be the logical destinations.

    4. It’s all about demand. The Redskins traded 3 first round picks and a 2nd round pick to move from #6 to #2 in the 2012 draft so they could select RG3. The Texans acquired Matt Schaub who was a backup with the Falcons by swapping first round selections (Texans flipped back to #10 pick and the Falcons got #8 pick) plus the Texans gave the Falcons 2 second round picks. It’s all about who is interested and how badly they want the player. Flacco is descending in his career and Mullens is ascending. To look at this trade between Denver and Baltimore for Flacco and think it has any meaning in the market for Mullens is a mistake. BUT we can all agree on 1 thing… It would be absolutely fantastic if the Redskins were willing to give up 3 first round picks and 1 second round pick this year in order to move up to #2 to select Kyler Murray.

      1. It is about demand. And I’m not sure any team will want Mullens for anything more than a 4th round pick. Which the Niners won’t do, because they want to keep him as a backup at approximately $600,000 a year.

        1. My thoughts as well. I mean if all Foles is worth is a 3rd-rounder, how the hell is Mullens worth a 2nd?

          1. I hear the Patriots are offering a 2nd round pick in 2024. Mullens will take JG’s place as Brady’s backup and then when Brady announces he’s playing until he’s 50, the 49ers will trade Mullens back for their 2nd round pick.

          1. We should be so lucky. Unfortunately, this would seem to also mean the Broncos are out of the running of possibly trading up to 1 or 2 for a QB.

        2. I wonder if Keenum might be traded to Washington. Maybe even for a first round pick, but a second is more likely.

    5. Stop it Mullen’s is worth more to SF than to the rest of the NFL. He goes through his progressions quickly… but can’t make all the throws.
      And while a few coordinaters are very adaptive… the vast majority are system oriented and they will not be so willing to think of Mullen’s as more than a backup.
      It sucks but it’s true… if he were 6’3 with an average arm he’d be worth a lot as it is… he’s Doug Floutie.

    6. Does Flacco have the quick release and accuracy on short and intermediate throws that Kyle’s offense values — assuming Scangs will implement Kyle’s offense in Denver?
      Is he at all an improvement over Keenum? Not based on what I saw of Flacco last year.

    1. Probably, but I think it is more that Flacco is what Vic Fangio wants at the QB position, and the 2019 QB class stinks.

    2. I don’t trust Elway to draft OR trade for a quarterback. Other than one year of Peyton Manning, he’s decided his QBs should be Osweiler, try to sign Osweiler for $16 million a year only to have the Texans save him, Lynch, Keenum, and now Flacco. Since his Super Bowl run, among quarterbacks with at least 2,000 pass attempts, Flacco’s QBR rating beats out only Eli Manning, Ryan Tannehill, Derek Carr and Blake Bortles. That is a Murderers’ Row of Bad.

      Congrats to Fangio and Kubiak for persuading Elway to continue his streak.

    1. Let’s see. Cancer in the locker room, DV, anger issues going 102 MPH…….A trifecta of red flags.

  17. Or Elway does not think any of the QBs in the draft are either that good or are ready to start. Maybe he is looking at Flacco playing for just a couple of years while the new QB gets up to speed.

    1. Godfather Fangio is a big fan of Flacco, so I’m sure that played a big part in making that move.

          1. I think Fangio wants to win so much, he might sign Kaep. He practiced against Kaep, so he knows him very well. Flacco is a good pickup, but he is 34 years old. Kaep would provide good insurance as a backup, and may even out compete Flacco. Elway almost signed Kaep, so he also recognizes talent, and may sign Kaep to atone for his mistake in passing on him.
            Having 2 SB QBs is better than having only one SB QB.

  18. Ravens-Flacco-Jackson 2019 looks a lot like 49ers-Smith-Kaepernick 2013. Maybe it’ll work out better for John than it did for Jim, but it looks like the league solved Lamar Jackson quicker than it did Colin Kaepernick.

      1. This move was expected, but inquiring minds such as mine want to know if Coleman showed enough that they feel he can be an adequate swing OT or do they bring in a vet to compete with him.

        1. I like Coleman as a swing. I would suspect however that rather than a veteran, the Niners may look to a mid-round draft pick to compete with Coleman.

          I like Michael Deiter as a Guard in the draft, but who also has experience at Center and Tackle (jack of all trades, though probably limited as a tackle). Unfortunately, I think Deiter will be gone by the 2nd round.

            1. Will take a look. Like Bobby Evans from Oklahoma for the outside zone; shows good athleticism and pulling ability. Would probably go in the 4th round.

    1. Saves approximately $5 million against the cap. Especially good given Shon Coleman is destined for the same role, and only at $2 million a year.

      1. Another waste of time signing…..how many of this missteps will it take to see these guys are clueless when it comes to signing good players….

        After 2yrs there is no solid evidence we are out of the rebuilding phase or on the right path to success

        On April 17, 2017, the San Francisco 49ers signed Gilliam to a one-year, $2.2 million offer sheet. The following day, the Seahawks declined to match the offer, officially making Gilliam a member of the 49ers. He played in eight games in 2017 before suffering a knee injury and was placed on injured reserve on November 7, 2017.

        On February 27, 2018, the 49ers signed Gillam to a two-year, $8 million contract extension with nearly $4 million guaranteed.

  19. Niners faithful, would you approve the following trade?

    Niners give up their 1st round pick this year (#2, 2600 draft points) to the Steelers.

    In return, they get the Steelers 1st round pick (#20, 850), the Steelers 2nd round pick (#52, 380), & the Steelers 2020 2nd round pick (~380 pmts) and Antonio Brown?

    That’s net giving up 990 draft points, which equates to the 16th pick in the NFL draft. For reference, Derwin James was the 17th pick in the NFL draft last year.

      1. The Steelers get some meaningful draft capital in the scenario above, and they can use it to draft Quinnen Williams, who has tremendous upside.

        The 49ers trade back in a class that is fairly deep on edge. They’ll miss out on J Allen, but there is a good chance that either Ferrell, Sweat, or Ferguson is there. They also get a real threat at WR to take some focus off of Kittle.

        In that scenario, they could pick up a good prospect at OG and either a DB or LB in the 2nd round. That would address a lot of needs in the first 2 rounds.

        1. There will be many good DTs available at 16. No need to move up.
          Essentially, this is a ploy to get rid of AB, and send him to a team of his choice. However, the Steelers do not want to do AB any favors. Right now, they may only get a 4th round pick for him.

          1. Hahah, you say that they shouldn’t trade up from 16, and that he’s worth a 4th rounder in the same breath. smh

            1. It would be in the Steeler’s best interest to save those picks, and patiently wait for the next best DT at 16.This draft is loaded with DT talent.
              Right now, with AB demanding a trade, that totally destroys any draft capital. Teams will now wait them out. Maybe the Steelers will end up trading AB for a 6th round pick.
              Niners should not obtain a locker room cancer, with DV issues and driving at excessive speeds, showing he is out of control. Sure, AB is talented, but he may disappear like a puff of smoke. Niners got burned by Foster. They should learn from their mistakes, so they do not repeat them.
              Your scenario smacks of desperation. Niners should not help the Steelers in any way.
              Niners should possibly trade back with the Jags at 7. Then, they can garner more picks, while still getting the player they covet.

      2. The players expected to go at #2 aren’t what the Steelers need. Giving up a 2nd rounder this year and next year for the privilege makes no sense.

        Besides, when was the last time the Steelers moved up in the 1st round? They don’t. They hold onto their top picks.

        1. Not only that, the Steelers organization does not let players bully them into giving them there way.

  20. Raider fans should thank Jed York for blocking Mark chili bowl haircut Davis Raiders to San Francisco because now they’ll play at there s**t hole stadium in Oakland ya

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