Football fans and even a medical specialist expressed outrage Thursday when Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had to be carried off the field and taken to the hospital for his second frightening injury in the space of four days.
Tagovailoa was sacked in the second quarter by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou. He appeared to hit the back of his head after being knocked to the turf, according to NFL.com‘s Grant Gordon.
“In a frightening sight, Tagovailoa was on the ground with his arms outstretched, contorting his fingers, somewhat like a boxer or fighter after a knockout in what is referred to as a fencing response,” Gordon reported.
The team later announced that Tagovailoa was conscious and able to move his extremities.
The quarterback was discharged from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center that evening and was able to fly back to Miami with the team.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel expressed relief that Tagovailoa just had a concussion, not anything “more serious,” Gordon wrote.
McDaniel said that after Tagovailoa went down, the quarterback called for him while lying on the field, ESPN reported.
“I could tell it wasn’t the same guy that I was used to seeing. It was a scary moment. He was evaluated for a concussion. He’s in the concussion protocol, but he’s being discharged,” McDaniel said, according to ESPN.
“It’s an emotional moment. It’s not a part of the deal you sign up for. His teammates and myself were very concerned, but he got checked out and it’s nothing more serious than a concussion,” McDaniel said.
This was the second injury this week for Tagovailoa, and some are blaming the team’s medical staff for negligence in even letting him play in Thursday night’s game.
Chris Nowinski, a neuroscientist and founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, weighed in on Twitter and posted that the medical staff at the Dolphins should be fired for putting their player at such risk.
“This is a disaster. Pray for Tua. Fire the medical staffs and coaches. I predicted this and I hate that I am right. Two concussions in 5 days can kill someone. This can end careers. How are we so stupid in 2022,” Chris Nowinski tweeted.
This is a disaster. Pray for Tua. Fire the medical staffs and coaches. I predicted this and I hate that I am right. Two concussions in 5 days can kill someone. This can end careers. How are we so stupid in 2022. pic.twitter.com/D8S8eEbgda
— Chris Nowinski, Ph.D. (@ChrisNowinski1) September 30, 2022
Kyle Tucker, a journalist for The Athletic, retweeted Nowinski’s post and added, “Horrifying. Legitimately, fire the Dolphins’ medical staff on the spot.”
Horrifying. Legitimately, fire the Dolphins’ medical staff on the spot. https://t.co/pfhqvbJxJ7
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) September 30, 2022
On Sunday, Tagovailoa had been forced to leave the game against the Buffalo Bills after what was first reported as a head injury, NFL.com reported.
However, he came back in the second half of the game and McDaniel announced that the player had hurt his back, not his head, in the first half and that injury got worse when he was hit by Matt Milano, the Bills’ linebacker. But Tagovailoa still finished out Sunday’s game and then played again on Thursday.
One Twitter user posted the video of the hit that Tagovailoa took on Sunday, showing that he had trouble walking after it.
“Tua could barely walk without any help just 4 days ago after a blow to the head and the Dolphins decided to start him today? Fire the whole staff,” the user tweeted.
Tua could barely walk without any help just 4 days ago after a blow to the head and the Dolphins decided to start him today? Fire the whole staff pic.twitter.com/pZIl07T4F1
— Mexican Rug Dealer (@DealinRugs) September 30, 2022
After the hits that Tagovailoa suffered, the NFL Player Association requested that the league’s concussion protocols be reviewed, since Tagovailoa returned to the game so quickly.
“Player health and safety is at the core of the union’s mission. Our concern tonight is for Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing,” the NFLPA said in a statement after Tagovailoa was taken out again in Thursday’s game, according to ESPN.
Meanwhile, McDaniel has insisted that Tagovailoa was not concussed after taking the hit in Sunday’s game. McDaniel said that the quarterback had been checked out by an independent neurologist, EPSN reported.
“People don’t stray. We don’t mess with that. As long as I’m the head coach, that will never be an issue,” McDaniel said, according to ESPN.
McDaniel insisted that he would never put a player in danger.
“Absolutely zero patience for or will ever put a player in position for them to be in harm’s way,” McDaniel said, ESPN reported. “That’s not what I’m about at all. No outcome of a game would influence me to be irresponsible as a head coach of a football team.”
After losing 27-15 to the Bengals on Thursday night, the Dolphins’ next game will be on Oct. 9 against the New York Jets.
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