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Report: NFLPA Fires Independent Doctor over Tua Tagovailoa’s Injury Return vs. Bills

Adam WellsOctober 1, 2022

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins lays on the turf during the second quarter of the game against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The NFL Players Association has fired the independent doctor who cleared Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to return in last Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on Saturday, the NFLPA exercised its "prerogative to terminate" the doctor.

NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe the NFLPA's investigation found "several mistakes" made by the neurotrauma consultant with Tagovailoa's concussion test.

Tagovailoa was removed from the game against the Bills in the second quarter after taking a hit from Bills linebacker Matt Milano. He got back to his feet following the hit but got wobbly and fell to one knee momentarily.

The Dolphins announced Tagovailoa was questionable to return due to a head injury. The third-year quarterback returned at the start of the third quarter and finished the game, leading Miami to a 21-19 victory.

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Tagovailoa's injury was a back issue that occurred in the first quarter on a quarterback sneak and worsened when it "locked up" following the hit from Milano, leading to him being wobbly.

Rapoport also noted Tagovailoa was fully cleared after undergoing a concussion check in the locker room.

The NFLPA announced in the aftermath of the situation last Sunday that it would investigate the handling of the concussion check during the game.

Tagovailoa was removed from Miami's game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday after his head hit the ground following a sack by Josh Tupou. His arms and fingers appeared to seize up as he was down on the field, leading to him being taken off on a stretcher.

After being diagnosed with a concussion at a Cincinnati hospital, Tagovailoa was discharged and allowed to fly back to Miami with the team.

Tua. T 🇦🇸 @Tua

Appreciate all the support! 🙏🏾 <a href="https://t.co/jWBYyvbbwg">pic.twitter.com/jWBYyvbbwg</a>

NFL vice president of communications Jeff Miller told Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson that "every indication" the league received about the situation was the concussion protocol "was followed" properly.

Per the NFL's official concussion protocols, once a player is suspected to have suffered a head injury, they are immediately removed from a game and sent to a medical tent for assessment.

Players are only allowed to return to the game if they clear a five-step evaluation process. If a player demonstrates "gross motor instability" caused by neurological reasons, the NFL's guidelines say the player should be taken out of the game.

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