Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa in concussion protocol, no timetable for return

MIAMI — Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel has analyzed the events leading up to Tua Tagovailoa’s injury Thursday night several times, right down to his own play.

But he doesn’t question how the team handled Tagovailoa during the week.

Tagovailoa was taken to a hospital Thursday after hitting his head on the turf while being sacked by Cincinnati Bengals nose tackle Josh Tupou in the second quarter. He remained on the turf for approximately 12 minutes before he was carried off the field on a stretcher and eventually taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center with a concussion and neck injury.

He was diagnosed with a concussion and is on protocol with no return date, according to the Dolphins.

Tagovailoa took to Twitter to thank everyone for their support, saying he is “feeling much better.”

The injury occurred four days after a similar incident during Miami’s game on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, in which Tagovailoa hit the back of his head on the ground and was evaluated for a concussion. The Dolphins faced widespread criticism on social media for allowing Tagovailoa to return to the game, as well as skepticism from the NFL Players Association, which after Sunday’s game initiated its right to request a review of the NFL’s concussion protocol. NFL.

NFLPA President JC Tretter he tweeted on friday that he is “outraged” by what has happened to Tagovailoa.

“We are all outraged by what we have seen in the last few days and fearful for the safety of one of our brothers,” Tretter said. “What everyone saw both Sunday and last night were ‘no go’ symptoms within our concussion protocols. The protocols exist to protect the player and that is why we launched an investigation.”

“Our job as the NFLPA is to take every step possible to get the facts and hold those responsible accountable. We need to find out how and why the decisions were made last Sunday to allow a player with a ‘no-go’ symptom to return to play. play”. field.”

But the Dolphins say Tagovailoa passed multiple concussion evaluations, including one at halftime of the Bills game and each day leading up to Thursday’s game, according to NFL medical director Allen Sills.

“I have 100 percent conviction in our process with regards to our players,” McDaniel said. “This is a player-friendly organization, and I make it very clear from the beginning that my job here is for the players. I take that very seriously. Nobody in the building deviates from that… If there had been anything lingering with his head, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I prematurely put someone out there and put them in danger.

“This is a relationship that I have with this human being. I take it seriously. I wouldn’t have put him in there if he had given me any inclination that he was putting himself in harm’s way because of that earlier game.”

Unlike the previous Miami game, when Tagovailoa was taken directly to the locker room from the field, McDaniel had a chance to interact with his quarterback before he was carried off the field on a stretcher.

He said he knew essentially right away that Tagovailoa had a concussion and hoped it was nothing more.

“Obviously, he was very worried about his head, but you want to make sure everything related to his spine and his back and all that, you want to make sure he’s okay,” McDaniel said. “It was very clear to me early on that I had, I didn’t really know the grade, but I knew I had a concussion.

“He was asking about me and then when he saw me I realized it wasn’t the same guy I’m used to seeing.”

After the game, McDaniel told the team that Tagovailoa would be traveling back to Miami with them. It was exciting news for a locker room that was beyond the scope of a normal loss.

“All of his teammates were so elated. I mean, this was a scary situation for all of us,” McDaniel said. “I’m sure it showed from the body language of his teammates and everyone on the field. It was something that didn’t go away once the game restarted. All of his teammates were absolutely ecstatic to see him in the plane. He was elated. It brought him some joy, which was good to see. It’s one of the reasons you get into team sports.”

The Dolphins continue to face criticism for their handling of the 24-year-old, but McDaniel insists all steps of the NFL’s concussion protocol were followed.

“This is a relationship that I have with this human being. I take it seriously. I wouldn’t have put him in there if he had given me any inclination that he was putting himself in harm’s way because of that earlier game.”

Mike McDaniel, Dolphins coach

He said he understands the lens of the whole situation, but can speak with “100 percent conviction” that everyone in the Dolphins building adhered to a process that is “clear, contrite and not something that is negotiable.” in no way, shape or form.” .”

“I didn’t have any kind of concerns. I’m in constant communication with this guy day in and day out,” McDaniel said Friday. “We’re talking high-level football conversations about progressions and defenses and remembering things from two weeks before and then having to reiterate a 15-word game call. All the stuff, absolutely no sign. No medical indication, all resources , that there was nothing regarding the head.

“Other than an eyeball test, which I know for sure you guys wouldn’t feel very comfortable if I just relied on that, I mean, it’s the reason we have tests. He didn’t have a head injury. So guys they hit their heads all the time, and that’s why I was adamant [that] he was evaluated for having a head injury and he didn’t. And when I tell you he was in complete mental concert, talking to us through it, and then he played the whole game and then he did a press conference and then he was with the media all week.

“If I had to sit someone down for a medical issue going against the doctors in an abstract way, when would I ever play it again?”

Veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater finished the game in Tagovailoa’s place, and McDaniel confirmed that Bridgewater will be the starter while Tagovailoa is out.

Watching Tagovailoa walk away from Thursday’s game was a difficult sight for many in the league.

Coach John Harbaugh, whose Baltimore Ravens lost to the Dolphins in Week 2, called the whole situation unbelievable.

“Like probably most people, I couldn’t believe what I saw last night. I couldn’t believe what I saw last Sunday. It was an amazing thing to see,” Harbaugh said Friday. “I’ve been coaching for 40 years, college in the NFL, almost 40, and I’ve never seen anything like this before. I just couldn’t believe my eyes.”

“A lot of times players want to play and sometimes you just have to tell them ‘No. It doesn’t have to be the answer.'”

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has expressed concern for his former varsity teammate.

“I think it’s a scary time for someone to be in that kind of setup,” Hurts said Friday.

McDaniel reiterated several times that he has not considered any kind of timeline when it comes to Tagovailoa’s return. He said Tagovailoa had an MRI on Friday and the team would take it day by day as to what will be asked of him while he is in concussion protocol; If there’s any indication that traveling to and from the facility isn’t in his best interest, the Dolphins won’t ask him to until it is.

“I literally don’t have a timeline I didn’t even think about it. That’s where I would feel irresponsible thinking about it,” he said. “I want him to get all the evaluations possible. I want him to do all the things that are recommended by all the medical counterparts. And I want him to get on the road to recovering from that as a human being and then we’ll cross that bridge. But in terms of a timeline to cross that bridge, I have no idea.

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