Tua Tagovailoa's Parents Say QB Won't Retire, Will Return to Dolphins in 2023

Erin WalshJanuary 26, 2023

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 25: Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) makes a pass attempt in the first half during the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, December 25, 2022 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla. (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tua Tagovailoa's NFL career will continue despite speculation that he might hang up the cleats after suffering multiple head injuries during the 2022 season.

Tagovailoa's parents, Galu and Diane Tagovailoa, said Wednesday during an interview at the Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii that the Miami Dolphins quarterback intends to return to the team in 2023 and will not retire.

"He comes back," Galu Tagovailoa said. "That's their guy. They love him, we love them and what they're doing and how they're helping him with his recovery and everything else trying to get him back."

Tagovailoa appeared to suffer his first head injury of the season in a Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 25. After he stood up following a hit, he stumbled and needed to be helped up by teammates.

The 24-year-old cleared concussion protocol and returned to the game. The NFL and NFL Players Association launched an investigation into the matter and concluded that while concussion protocol was followed, it proved to be insufficient.

As a result, the league updated the concussion protocol to rule out players who exhibit ataxia, which is any "abnormality of balance/stability, coordination or speech," in addition to loss of consciousness, confusion and amnesia. The NFLPA also fired the independent doctor who served as the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant on Tagovailoa's case.

Tagovailoa suffered his first official concussion of the season four days later in a Week 4 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 29. He was carted off the field and transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after taking a sack from Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou and hitting his head on the field.

The Alabama product later revealed frightening details of the ailment while speaking with reporters in October, saying that he lost consciousness and didn't remember being carted off the field. He also said he only remembered "some things" from the ambulance and hospital.

Tagovailoa returned to the field for a Week 7 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 23 after clearing concussion protocol. He played every game through Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 25.

The Hawaii native suffered another concussion against the Packers, but he played the entire game because he didn't display or report any symptoms. He was then ruled out for the remainder of the season after head coach Mike McDaniel confirmed he suffered another concussion.

The head injuries were disappointing for Tagovailoa, who had been having a solid season despite missing time. He led the Dolphins to an 8-5 record while completing 64.8 percent of his passes for 3,548 yards and 25 touchdowns against eight interceptions in 13 games.

With Tagovailoa sidelined, the Dolphins went on to finish the season with a 9-8 record before being eliminated by the Bills in the AFC Wild Card Round.

Entering 2023, all eyes will be on Tagovailoa as he looks to remain healthy and lead Miami on a deep playoff run for the first time since reaching the Super Bowl during the 1984 season.