Speaking about Tua Tagovailoa’s scary injury on Thursday night, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel got emotional on Friday afternoon.
Tua Tagovailoa, the Miami Dolphins, and Mike McDaniel have been on a roller coaster ride the last six days. Here is a full timeline of all we know that has happened since Sunday if you need a refresher.
First and foremost, you have to feel for Tagovailoa, who has taken two head blows in the span of four days.
Thursday night’s situation was particularly hard to watch, with Tagovailoa leaving on a stretcher and spending a few hours in a local hospital.
Though he was discharged the same night and approved to fly home with the team, he left in a neck brace and also officially enters the NFL’s return-to-play concussion protocol.
The Dolphins have been under heavy criticism for letting Tagovailoa play on Thursday (and come back in the game on Sunday). Tagovailoa, after hitting his head on the ground on Sunday against the Bills, wobbled and struggled to stay upright. The team (and Tua) said it was his back locking up that caused the instability.
Tagovailoa left the field, was assessed for a head injury, and was approved to come back by both the Dolphins medical team and a third-party neurological consultant.
Mike McDaniel gets emotional talking about Tua Tagovailoa leaving game on stretcher
Speaking to the media on Friday afternoon, Mike McDaniel got emotional talking about seeing Tua taken off the field in a stretcher.
With his voice breaking, McDaniel said:
“I’ll never be comfortable with a player getting carted off the field. Ever. It’s, uh… Something you never want to be a part of. And when I put myself there this is what happens. It’s not fun. I’m just really, really glad that he’s, um, that I can hear ‘Normal Tua’ in his voice. And I know his teammates that have talekd to him feel the same way.”
McDaniel has taken plenty of criticism for downplaying the severity of the injury, even last night. McDaniel said that he was glad it was, “only a concussion,” a quote that has largely been taken out of context.
Here is a more complete view of the quote in question, after McDaniel talked about the fact that Tua left on a stretcher and expressed concern:
“The best news we could get is that everything has checked out. That he didn’t have anything more serious than a concussion.”
Tua Tagovailoa’s injury timeline is murky from here on out
The process to get back into a game from a head injury on a game day like Tagovailoa did on Sunday is a bit easier than entering the return-to-play protocol. On game day, a player simply needs to pass some questions and surveillance of their state. Once a player enters protocol, they need to pass through five different levels before they can return to play, and that can take any length of time depending on the player.
McDaniel made clear to the media Friday that there is no timetable on the return to play, which is essentially true of any player in return-to-play protocol.