After suffering two head injuries within five days, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa sparked a new discussion about NFL safety.
Now that the star quarterback is back practicing again, he is thinking back to his last NFL games, however, he now admits he does not remember being carted off the field in the Thursday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tua Tagovailoa Speaks Out On Concussion
The Miami Dolphins quarterback spoke to reporters for the first time since his injuries yesterday, giving insight into just how bad the concussions were.
“I wouldn’t say it was scary for me at the time,” Tagovailoa said. “Because there was a point where I was unconscious, so I couldn’t really tell what was going on. So when I did come to and kinda realized what was going on, what was happening, I didn’t think of anything long-term or short-term, I was just wondering what happened.”
He continued to explain, “I remember the entire night up to the point I got tackled. But after I got tackled, I don’t remember much from there. Getting carted off, I don’t remember that. But I do remember things that were going on when I was in the ambulance and then when I arrived at the hospital.”
The 24-year-old NFL player went on to say this scary incident did lead him to be more aware and take care of himself. “For me, I’ve always been a person to try to make something happen,” he said. “That’s always been my mindset, if you will. Throwing the ball away hasn’t been something that I’ve done in the past really well. … If it’s not there, it’s OK to throw it away. It’s (about) the longevity of me just being able to be the quarterback for this team.”
Tagovailoa’s concussions sparked controversy amongst the NFL — so much so that more than a dozen players were taken out of Week 4’s Sunday games with concussions.
What Happened To Tua Tagovailloa?
On September 25, Tagovailoa took a hard hit against the Buffalo Bills. When he got up, he was seen stumbling and not walking straight. The Dolphins quarterback was evaluated for a concussion during halftime, but returned to the game after professionals determined the stumble was caused by a previously reported back injury, and not a concussion.
Four days later, in the Thursday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tagovailoa took another hard yet, this time resulting in his head hitting the turf and him being carted off the field on a stretcher as he could not move his arms or hands. He was briefly hospitalized.
The NFL Players Association Reviews Protocols
The NFL Players Association then reviewed the league’s concussion protocol following the Dolphins quarterback’s quick return to the game on Sunday against the Bills. The NFLPA deemed the UNC made “several mistakes” during the concussion protocol process, multiple sources told ESPN. One of those mistakes included not examining Tagovailoa’s back during the initial concussion examination.
Ataxia was present in Tagovailoa’s case during the Sunday game against the Buffalo Bills, the league’s chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said during a press conference.
On October 1, the NFL and NFLPA agreed on an amended concussion protocol. Now, any player who displays ataxia, which is defined as “abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue,” must be removed from a game and is not allowed to return.