Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a concussion during the team’s 27-15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday night when he was pulled off the field and taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center by ambulance. Although Tagovailoa was later released and flew home with the team, reportedly wearing a neck brace, questions remain whether he should even play.
Tagovailoa was injured last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills after being hit by linebacker Matt Milano. It looks like he hit the back of the head and the quarterback clearly had some unsteadiness as he got up and then tripped to the ground. Many speculated that Tagovailoa suffered a head injury, but the Dolphins classified it as a back injury and the quarterback returned to the game.
After that, the NFLPA said it would look into whether the Dolphins were following concussion protocol, but that investigation was not completed until Thursday’s short-week game against Miami. Tagovailoa was dubious to play on Thursday night due to what was classified as back and ankle injuries. He got dressed and then received a terrible head injury after a brutal blow.
Many believe that Tagovailoa suffered two concussions in five days, which is incredibly dangerous. According to Pro Football TalkNFLPA Chief Executive DeMaurice Smith issued a statement Thursday night to former NFL players and current Amazon broadcasters Andrew Whitworth and Richard Sherman, threatening serious action to ensure the safety of their players.
“We pushed for these rules to avoid exactly this scenario,” Smith said. “We will use all legal options, including directing complaints about doctors to licensing agencies and the team, which is obliged to ensure the safety of our players.”
NFLPA President JC Tretter also issued a statement on Friday.
“We are all outraged by what we have seen in the past few days and fear for the safety of one of our brothers,” Tretter said. “What everyone saw both Sunday and last night were unacceptable symptoms in our concussion protocols. Protocols are in place to protect the player and that’s why we’ve launched an investigation.
“Our job as the NFLPA is to take every possible measure to get the facts and bring those responsible to justice,” Tretter continued. “We need to find out how and why decisions were made last Sunday to allow a player with a ‘ban’ symptom to return to the field. Until we have an objective and proven method for diagnosing traumatic brain injury, we must do everything. possibly including amending protocols to further reduce the chance of human error. Denial of medical opinion is a refusal of protocols when it comes to the well-being of our players.”
It was a question the NFLPA was already planning to look into, even if Tagovailoa wasn’t hurt on Thursday night. Since he, unfortunately, suffered a head injury, the importance of this issue has reached a new level. The NFL and how they deal with concussions has been a hot topic for years. With this latest incident, one has to wonder if it could lead to yet another change in protocol.