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Tua Tagovailoa's Concussion to Be Subject of NFL, NFLPA Joint Investigation

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 28, 2022

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) runs with the ball during an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Murray)
AP Photo/Doug Murray

The NFL announced Wednesday it would be investigating the Miami Dolphins' handling of the concussion protocol on Sunday regarding quarterback Tua Tagovailoa alongside the NFL Players' Association.

"A joint NFL-NFLPA review of the application of the concussion protocol involving Miami Dolphins' quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is now underway," the league said in a statement. "We welcome that review, and as we have done previously, we will report the results in conjunction with the NFLPA."

Tagovailoa is now in the concussion protocol for the second time this season and is expected to miss Sunday's matchup against the New England Patriots, with Teddy Bridgewater in line to start in his place.

"This is a human being, very much like all players," McDaniel told reporters Wednesday. "I'm not going to go in direct conflict with what the doctors have told me to do, which is just to worry about one day at a time. This is just a day-at-a-time process, that his health is the first, foremost and only priority."

While Tagovailoa wasn't removed from Sunday's game, he showed concussion symptoms on Monday, met with team doctors and was placed in the concussion protocol.

Jonathan Jones @jjones9

McDaniel makes clearer that he saw things on the tape Monday that gave him cause for concern before even meeting with Tua.

The 2022 season has been marked by head injuries for the third-year quarterback.

In a Sept. 25 game against the Buffalo Bills, he suffered what was originally ruled to be a head injury, though an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant cleared him to return to the game. That consultant was later fired after reportedly making "several mistakes" in that evaluation.

Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN

The earlier review found no violations but resulted in changes to protocols and union fired one of the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants involved in Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's evaluation at that time. <a href="https://t.co/cXgviLeFbq">https://t.co/cXgviLeFbq</a>

Against the Cincinnati Bengals four days later, Tagovailoa hit his head on the ground and was knocked unconscious, resulting in a brief hospitalization. He missed the team's next two games.

When healthy, the 24-year-old has been excellent, throwing for 3,548 yards, 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 64.8 percent of his passes and taking 21 sacks. The Dolphins are 8-5 in his starts.

But his pattern of head injuries this season has been a troubling development, and one that could potentially threaten both his season and even his career if they persist.

NFL on ESPN @ESPNNFL

.<a href="https://twitter.com/RGIII?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RGIII</a> on the importance of health and safety when dealing with head injuries:<br><br>"You've got to put the person before the player. I'm more concerned about Tua [Tagovailoa] and his longevity of life than I am about whether he's gonna play on Sunday." <a href="https://t.co/xgZIdyWhMJ">pic.twitter.com/xgZIdyWhMJ</a>

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

"I like the kid &amp; the way he goes about his business.. I hope he makes the right decision for him &amp; I know he will"<a href="https://twitter.com/AaronRodgers12?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AaronRodgers12</a> chats about Tua Tagovailoa being back in concussion protocol <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PMSLive?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PMSLive</a> <a href="https://t.co/TnUApL5wU8">pic.twitter.com/TnUApL5wU8</a>

Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz

Brandon Marshall joins C. Woodson as 2nd prominent ex-player questioning whether Tua should continue career. "It's not worth it," Marshall said on Paramount's Inside the NFL tonight. "If you sustain another concussion this year, your career should be over." Unclear if he had one.

Charles Woodson @CharlesWoodson

Just seeing the news about tua.. if indeed it's another concussion he has think long and hard about continuing to play this game ever again.. period

At 8-7, the Dolphins are fighting for a playoff berth and have crucial matchups against the Patriots and New York Jets to close the regular season. Bridgewater may be called into action for both contests.