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Tua Tagovailoa’s Scare Raises Questions About the NFL’s Concussion Protocol

Quinn C. Novick


Tua Tagovailoa, the Miami Dolphins’ young star quarterback, suffered a devastating injury on Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Hawaii native and Alabama alum received his injury after getting sacked by Cincinnati defense Josh Tupou.


Although the young star’s incident may appear isolated, it is true that many different NFL players have gotten injured. From severe spinal and cranial injuries, the onset of injuries resulted in a ‘fencing response’ scene with Tua’s hands on the ground after getting tackled by the pass-rusher for Cincinnati. Unfortunately, the NFL has had a history of poor concussion protocols, and Tagovailoa’s situation may bring further clarity, or perhaps more questions to the NFL’s response.


Upon Tagovailoa’s fall in Cincinnati, the Miami training staff followed the directed NFL protocol, and he was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He was later cleared to travel back to Miami.


One week before the incident, Tagavailoa had suffered a severe injury in his game against the Buffalo Bills. He was diagnosed with a back injury, yet passed all concussion protocols. In response, the NFL Player’s Association had asked for a review of the NFL’s concussion protocol, following the incident that Tagavailoa suffered.


Although the actual scene of Tagavailoa’s injury was managed appropriately, he was hit hard the week before, leading to the question of him being taken to the sideline. Miami followed the NFL guidelines and cleared Tagovailoa to take the field. Although Miami did follow the proper NFL guidelines, questions remain if Tagavailoa’s injury on Monday night was solely isolated to his fall, or if there remains questions from his previous injury. Regardless, this puts the ever-problematic and allegation-filled NFL in a minefield of potential charges and lawsuits.


It is unclear whether the NFL’s concussion protocol will change, and if so, to what effect? Only time will tell in order to determine the outcome of the concussion protocol within the league.


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