MIAMI – The unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant involved in releasing Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa during Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills has been fired. Multiple sources said the firing came after it was discovered that he made “several errors” in evaluating him.
However, the league and players’ union issued a joint statement Saturday that said a review of Tagovailoa’s quick return to Sunday’s game is underway, also adding that they agree “modifications to the concussion protocol to improve player safety.
“The NFL and NFLPA agree that the NFLPA Mackey-White Health and Safety Committee and the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee have already begun discussions regarding the use of the term ‘Gross Motor Instability,’ and we anticipate changes.” in the protocol to be made in the coming days based on what has been learned so far in the review process,” the joint statement said.
“The NFL and the NFLPA share a great appreciation for unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants who contribute their time and expertise to our game solely to improve player safety. This program has made our game safer for athletes who use it.” they play for the last twelve seasons.
A source previously said the NFL Players Association exercised its right to fire the consultant. The NFLPA and the league have the right to terminate a UNC without the agreement of the other party.
Tagovailoa briefly left the game after hitting the back of his head on the ground and tripping while trying to get back into the pack. He was taken to the locker room and examined for a concussion, but returned to the game after passing his evaluation. The Dolphins initially listed him as questionable to return with a head injury, but later stated that a back injury Tagovailoa sustained earlier in the game caused him to stumble.
The NFLPA exercised its right to initiate a review of the league’s concussion protocol in response to Tagovailoa’s quick return to play. A source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that UNC was interviewed Friday as part of that investigation.
Criticism of the Dolphins’ handling of the situation was exacerbated Thursday when Tagovailoa’s head hit the turf again late in the first half while facing the Cincinnati Bengals. Tagovailoa remained on the field for approximately 12 minutes before he was taken on a stretcher and eventually to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Tagovailoa was diagnosed with a concussion and released hours later; he flew back to South Florida with the team early Friday morning. A league source told ESPN that Tagovailoa’s initial scans came back negative, and Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel confirmed there was no further damage beyond his concussion.
The quarterback remains in concussion protocol and McDaniel said there is no timetable for his return.
McDaniel has faced scrutiny in the days since for playing Tagovailoa, but he insisted Friday that the Dolphins followed the league’s process and that the quarterback was cleared by an independent neurologist.
“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.”
NFL medical director Allen Sills said Tagovailoa was evaluated for a concussion every day between games Sunday and Thursday. The league’s concussion protocol states that the same UNC that conducts a player’s initial testing should “ideally” conduct follow-up evaluations, but a member of the team’s medical staff may do so if necessary.
It was not immediately known if the now-fired doctor conducted Tagovailoa’s follow-up evaluations.
McDaniel said Friday that he “doesn’t care at all” that Tagovailoa suffered a head injury during Sunday’s game.
“I’m in constant communication with this guy day in and day out,” McDaniel said. “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 a fact that you guys wouldn’t feel very comfortable just relying on that, I mean, it’s the reason we have tests. He did not have a head injury. heads at him all the time, and that’s why he 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?”
Tagovailoa tweeted on Friday that he was “feeling much better” and thanked everyone for their support.