With the confirmation that the neurotrauma consultant who cleared Tua Tagovailoa for play in Week 3 has been fired, NFL fans and journalists respond.
Two days after NFL fans saw Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa experiencing harrowing symptoms of severe neurotrama, the news broke that the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who initially cleared Tagovailoa to play in Week 3 has been fired.
For many NFL fans and journalists, this reiterated the fears that many onlookers had: that Tua suffered a concussion in Week 3 versus the Buffalo Bills, but he was cleared to play and return to the field.
That decision, along with the decision to allow him to play in a Week 4 game just four days later where he was seriously injured, may have severely jeopardized Tagovailoa’s health. Neurologists have stressed that suffering two concussions in such a short time period, which is referred to as second impact syndrome (SIS), can severely harm and even cause athletes to die from serious traumatic brain injuries.
Dr. Chris Nowinski, a former WWE Superstar who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and is the CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, has been vocal about the dangers that Tua has been exposed to if he did indeed suffer from two concussions.
Yet even those without a medical degree, such as former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears, expressed fears that he seemed to suffer from a concussion in Week 3 as well.
In response to the NFLPA’s decision, some NFL fans joked about the callousness of the Dolphins organization, as well as the fact that Tagovailoa could have grounds to sue the organization for the “several mistakes” in the evaluation of his head trauma.
Daniel Carcillo, who has been a champion for brain-trauma lawsuits brought against the NHL, reflected on former NHL players who have been suspected to have suffered from brain injury due to their athletic careers.
NFLPA decision confirms fears by NFL fans and journalists, igniting fury against the Dolphins and NFL culture around concussions
As dark of a situation as this is, some NFL fans used humor to stress just how reckless the Dolphins organization appears to have been in regards to Tagovailoa’s health.
Dr. Nowinski has also been adamant about the potential danger Tua could be in from two concussions in five days.
“I predicted this and I hate that I am right. Two concussions in five days can end careers,” he wrote on Twitter.
Dr. Myron Rolle, a former Tennessee Titans safety who is now a neurosurgeon resident at Harvard, spoke with Kevin Negandhi and Elle Duncan on SportsCenter with his perspective on the situation.
Dr. Rolle described how the patients he sees at Massachusetts General Hospital are “in the driver’s seat” in regards to their care, which differs from an athlete that may potentially feel pressures from non-medical forces to return to the field.
Mina Kimes, Emmanuel Acho and Joy Taylor also expressed concerns about how the Tagovailoa situation has been handled.
“Complicit…is also with the media,” Taylor said. “We talked about this [Week 3] game like Tua should have been on that field. And if Tua hadn’t gotten hurt yesterday, we would be covering this [Week 4] game as if Tua should have been on that field.”
The way the Dolphins handled Tua’s health was also compared to the way Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin sought to protect Ryan Clark due to his carrying the sickle cell anemia trait.
However, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson criticized those who have been skeptical of the team’s medical evaluation in a tweet that did not age well, considering the NFLPA’s findings.
Fox News’ Dagen McDowell also referred to concerns about Tua’s health as “uninformed hystria by ESPN.”
While there are some who have taken the organization at their word and were previously not concerned with the possibility that Tagovailoa may have experienced two concussions within a week, many in the NFL world have been challenging that initial diagnosis. According to the latest findings, there was plenty of reason to be critical of seeing Tua back on the field.