We’ve all seen it.
Last Sunday v. the Bills in Miami, Tua Tagovailoa was thrown to the ground and in the process he hits his head on the turf. He gets up, tries to jog to the line of scrimmage, but he collapses. Clearly Tua is concussed. His movements were like that of a boxer just before the ref calls it a TKO. Tagovailoa was taken off the field to be evaluated at halftime.
During the 12 minutes of halftime, Tagovailoa is examined by the team’s medical staff and it is determined during those 720 seconds that he’s ok to return to the field to start the second half. In the modern NFL, where “player safety” is the Commissioner’s (faux) mantra, somehow they let this happen – they allowed the then (2-0) Dolphins, one of the league’s new darlings, to keep their obviously concussed QB in the game.
After the upset win to advance to (3-0) (remember winning is everything), Tagovailoa said that his back “locked up” on him. THAT’s what triggered his impression of a punch-drunk fighter.
“For the most part,” Tua said, “I’m good.”
So the Dolphins list him on the injury report with a “back” injury.
The team signed off on this. Their head coach said it was ok. The team’s doctors gave him a thumbs up. Each one, employees of arguably the shadiest of NFL owners, Stephen Ross. They gambled on the safety of a player because playing him gave the team a better chance to advance to (4-0). An undefeated team in South Florida means more money, right?
If Tua takes the field tonight, it's a massive step back for #concussion care in the NFL.
If he has a 2nd concussion that destroys his season or career, everyone involved will be sued & should lose their jobs, coaches included. We all saw it, even they must know this isn't right https://t.co/vxpaOif5rh
— Chris Nowinski, Ph.D. (@ChrisNowinski1) September 29, 2022
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel will probably tell you he isn’t a doctor and that he relies on the “professionals” for important medical matters – you know, like a player’s brain matter. But here, he sure sounds like a doctor on a political campaign trail.
“I don’t think that an injury from last week made him fall the same way this week, but yeah, I do not have any, like absolutely zero patience for, or will ever put a player in position for them to be in harm’s way. That is not what I’m about at all, and no outcome of a game would ever influence me being responsible as the head coach of a football team.”
just so that people understand the severity of these injuries and the callousness of the miami dolphins staff, I put the Tua injuries and the dates they occurred back to back pic.twitter.com/XpWJcMQbsx
— manny (@mannyfidel) September 30, 2022
How can someone stand up there before the media and say that what happened to Tua on Sunday against the Bills didn’t influence what happened to him last night in Cincinnati? Tua was flung down to the turf with authority last night. There’s no denying that. But we’ve all seen players hit their heads on the turf with more blunt force than Tua did last night and still get up, dust off and get ready for the next play. But Tua seized. HE SEIZED! And no one, not Mike McDaniel, not one of the team quacks, not Ross, can tell us that the two incidents are not tied together – that Tua wasn’t a concussed player with a pre-existing condition.
Yet he did.
Want some more talking out of both sides of the mouth from McDaniel?
“If there’s any inclination that someone has a concussion, they go into concussion protocol. … We don’t mess with that. Never have.”
Mike McDaniel on Tua being cleared to play tonight after being evaluated for a concussion last week
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 30, 2022
Hopefully this story will have a happy ending.
Hopefully the reprehensible behavior exhibited by the Dolphins medical staff and their complicit head coach will become examples of what not to do with player safety and managing player concussions. Most importantly, hopefully, Tua is ok.
But I won’t be surprised if Tua is listed as “questionable” with a “hand” injury before the Dolphins travel to New Jersey to take on the Jets in 9 days.
After all, that’s an important divisional game, right?
As founder of the Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force I’m praying for Tua Tagovailoa. Concussions are devastating and as a nation we must do more to protect people with brain injury – that starts with our pro sports leagues. That didn’t happen tonight. https://t.co/0mgY7ny0NY
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. 🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@BillPascrell) September 30, 2022