Tua Tagovailoa

Before Thursday night’s NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals, the topic of whether or not quarterback Tua Tagovailoa should play lingered. It followed a similar line of inquiry: should the former Alabama All-American have been permitted to participate in the second half of Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills?

Tagovailoa’s injury against the Bengals, which required him to be rushed to a hospital before halftime, only added fuel to those flames of speculation. After the game on Thursday, reporters asked Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel if the team could have done anything differently with Tagovailoa in the four days since his prior injury.

“Definitely not,” McDaniel emphasized. It’s not fair that I’m in this predicament if I were to have done something so foolish as to get myself here in the first place.

Tagovailoa was taken down by a shove from Matt Milano with two minutes left in the first half of Sunday’s contest. The Buffalo outside linebacker was flagged for roughing the passer, and the Miami quarterback was sent to the dressing room when the back of his helmet bounced off the field.

Tua Tagovailoa

In the second half, though, Tagovailoa took over at quarterback for the Dolphins, leading Miami to a come-from-behind 21-19 triumph.

Tagovailoa claimed in the locker room after the game that he had been cleared from the league’s concussion protocol and that he had hurt his back on a quarterback sneak that had caused him to be unsteady.

If the team doctor and an unaffiliated neurotrauma expert on the sidelines determine that the player’s “gross motor instability” that led to his entry into the NFL concussion protocol was not neurological in origin, the player may return to the game.

Tua Tagovailoa

McDaniel stated after Thursday’s game, “Like every other NFL game that is played, there is an independent specialist that specializes in the specialty of brain matter.” Honestly, as long as I’m the coach here, I’m not going to try to sugarcoat anything related to it.

The concussion protocol is a rigid set of guidelines that must be followed whenever there is even the slightest suspicion that an individual has had a concussion. No one ever deviates from the norm or varies their behavior. That is not something we play around with. That has never been a problem, and it won’t be as long as I’m your coach.

However, the NFLPA has sought a review of Tagovailoa’s concussion protocol from last Sunday to see if the guidelines were adhered to. The Dolphins listed Tagovailoa as questionable to play in Thursday’s game due to his back and ankle issues, and he was labeled as a limited participant on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Meanwhile, neuropathologist Bennet Omalu, who first reported a connection between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, said he had “no question” that Tagovailoa had experienced a concussion on Sunday after watching the footage. Omalu has stated that he would not have allowed Tagovailoa to play on Thursday night or return to Sunday’s game.

Tagovailoa’s helmet touched the ground once more on Thursday when Cincinnati defensive tackle Josh Tupou pushed him into the ground on a twisting sack. McDaniel stated that he did not believe Tagovailoa’s re-injury was related to the ones he sustained on Sunday.

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According to McDaniel, “I don’t think an injury from last week had him fall the same manner this week.” In contrast, I have zero tolerance for risking the safety of my players and will never knowingly put one of them in danger. That’s not who I am, and I wouldn’t let the result of a game make me careless as the football team’s head coach.

The Dolphins said that Tagovailoa had been released from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and would return to Miami on Friday with the rest of the squad after Thursday night’s game.

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