Miami Dolphins QB TuaTagovailoa should not been allowed to play against the Cincinnati Bengals last night. Definitely not, after he stumbled trying to get up from a blow to the back of his head on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
Last night, in front of a national audience on Thursday night, Tagovailoa laid motionless on the field, his hands above his head and his fingers contorted, after his head the field hard against the Cincinnati Bengals. This was a very ugly moment for the NFL.
Tagovailoa was treated for a concussion and released from a trauma center. He flew home to Miami with the team. This was the second time in four days that he took another blow to his head and brain. Four days after what appeared to be a head injury on Sunday.
To put it in simple terms, Tua Tagovailoa was failed by the Miami Dolphins, the NFL and the NFL Players Association. His scary injury and exit on a stretcher from last night’s game, is another case of NFL players needing protection by their teams and from themselves.
Tua Tagovailoa was under scrutiny and pressure all off-season to validate his status as the Dolphins QB. He has been criticized for lack of arm strength and that he is injury prone. But, Tua Tagovailoa is a human being and he needs to be treated like one. The Dolphins and the NFL need to treat their players as human beings. I am sure that he wanted to play through Sunday’s injury and that he wanted back in the game, to prove his mental and physical toughness. He, probably also wanted to prove his critics wrong, but Tagovailoa needed to protected from himself and nobody did that.
Leading up to the Cincinnati game, Tagovailoa was not in concussion protocol. He was not listed with a head injury, instead he was listed with back and ankle injuries. Someone, needs to be called on the carpet for this.
The brutal concussion that he suffered in front of a national television audience last night, should be a wake up call to the NFL. The NFL has no choice but to tell the truth about what happened to Tua Tagovailoa. We all saw the replays last night. The close-up shots and the slow motion videos of his fingers splayed out in the fencing response, the thing our bodies are designed to do when are brains shut off. We all saw this and the NFL can’t try to convince us it was anything other than a traumatic brain injury. No this time.
In Sunday’s game, after he hit his head on the turf, he got up and staggered, repeatedly shaking his head and then falling down. The Dolphins and the NFL tried to sell us that it was a back injury. I call “BS” to that. Here is what Dr. Chris Nowinski tweeted five hours before the game last night:
His tweet was prophetic and the NFL needs to take a tougher and thorough path to protect it’s players. This situation needs to be investigated. A better policy and protocol needs to be put in place and followed. Our thoughts and prayers should go out to Tua Tagovailoa and his family.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is examined during the first half of the team’s NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Cincinnati. Photo courtsey of Jeff Dean