Tua Tagovailoa Isn't More Prone to Head Injuries After Concussions, Dolphins GM Says

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 18, 2023

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 27: Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins looks on prior to a game against the Houston Texans at Hard Rock Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier downplayed concerns Tuesday regarding quarterback Tua Tagovailoa being more susceptible to concussions moving forward after suffering two of them during the 2022 season.

According to ProFootballTalk's Michael David Smith, Grier said the following when asked about the notion that Tua is now more prone to head injuries:

"From what our doctors and the consultants we've talked to through the NFLPA, that is not a true statement. So for us, I don't think he's any more prone than anyone else. For us, we're just letting the doctors, the medical staff and the people in that field that know more. From everything we've been told that is not a concern."

Tagovailoa missed five games in total this season, including Miami's 34-31 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card Round of the playoffs last weekend, because of concussions.

Tagovailoa's first documented concussion of the season occurred in Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tua's head hit the ground hard while taking a shot from a defensive player, and the impact caused his hands to seize.

He was transported to a local hospital immediately after, but was released that same night and flew back to Miami with the team.

One week earlier, in a 21-19 win over the Bills, Tagovailoa seemingly showed signs of a head injury late in the first half. After getting pushed to the turf by Bills linebacker Matt Milano, Tua was unsteady on his feet and removed from the game.

Despite that, he was allowed to return at the start of the second half and went on to lead Miami to one of its biggest wins of the season.

Tagovailoa was not diagnosed with a concussion, but the situation led to the NFL and NFLPA agreeing to amend the league's concussion protocol. Players who show a loss of balance, stability or coordination are now no longer allowed to re-enter a game.

After missing two games because of the concussion suffered against Cincinnati, Tua returned to action and played close to a Pro Bowl level, helping lead the Dolphins to an 8-3 start.

Miami lost four consecutive games after that, though, including a 26-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 16 that saw Tua throw interceptions on each of the Dolphins' final three possessions.

While he exhibited no symptoms during the game, Tagovailoa entered the league's concussion protocol the next day. He did not play in the Dolphins' final two games of the regular season, nor did he play in their postseason game.

Although Tua and the Dolphins experienced their fair share of bumps in the road in 2022, it was still a positive season overall.

In addition to Miami reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2016, Tagovailoa set career highs with 3,548 yards and 25 touchdowns, while throwing just eight interceptions.

Tua operated well within head coach Mike McDaniel's offensive system, putting himself in a good position ahead of the upcoming offseason, which is when the Dolphins will have to decide on exercising the fifth-year option in his rookie contract.

Tagovailoa's issues with head injuries would perhaps give some teams pause, but Grier's comments suggest the Dolphins aren't averse to making a commitment to Tua beyond next season.