The NFL offers a key update on the investigation surrounding Miami Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa surrounding the possibility of sustaining multiple concussions.
In a matter of days, the NFL and NFLPA have taken swift action to address the serious concerns regarding Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in regards to his neurological health.
During his Week 4 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tagovailoa sustained a hit that caused him to exhibit “fencing” symptoms, often a troubling sign of neurological trauma.
Tagovailoa was taken out of the game and evaluated at a hospital, but his physical response on the field caused many to reflect on a Week 3 hit that made Tagovailoa stumble on the field then. Mounting public pressure prompted the NFL to begin conducting an investigation, which quickly resulted in the firing of the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who evaluated Tagovailoa in Week 3 and cleared him for play.
The NFL and NFLPA have issued a statement outlining their investigation, and the Dolphins announced on Monday that they would be officially benching Tagovailoa for their Week 5 matchup versus the New York Jets in London. On Tuesday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero issued another key update as the situation continues to develop.
“The hope is to wrap up the investigation within the week,” Pelissero reported. “The NFL has said findings will be released publicly.”
Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa speaks with NFL, NFLPA reps in concussion investigation
Although some neurologists have been reluctant to diagnose Tagovailoa through game tape, there have been football fans, former NFL players and those with backgrounds in neurology who became incredibly concerned with seeing Tagovailoa’s health in jeopardy when he was injured last Thursday.
The primary cause for concern is that if Tagovailoa suffered an undiagnosed concussion on Sept. 25, then suffered another on Sept. 29, there is the possibility that he could have experienced Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). Suffering subsequent concussions in a matter of days can cause severe neurotrauma, which can even be fatal in some cases.
Thankfully, Tagovailoa issued a statement following the game to let concerned fans know that he was feeling well, but the serious risk of concussion is something that can follow him years down the line. The NFL’s relationship with concussions has been a dark shadow cast on the physical nature of the game, with former players suing the league for a billion-dollar settlement — one many Black players were initially excluded from due to the prejudiced practice of “race-norming.”
That is just the storyline following players receiving adequate healthcare in their retirement. Many former players have been diagnosed with CTE in the event of their deaths, and the findings in regard to this brain trauma have been devastating. In 2019, research at Boston University confirmed “the risk and severity of developing the life-altering disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, increases with the number of years playing football.”
For all these reasons, the entire NFL world is concerned not only about Tua’s health and safety, but what improved Concussion Protocol means for all football players.