Thursday September 28, 2023

Tua Tagovailoa Interviewed as Rollout of Concussion Protocol Revisions Near

  • Tagovailoa's interview is one of the final pieces of the joint NFL-NFLPA probe into his Sept. 25 assessment.
  • Changes to the concussion protocol unlikely until investigation concludes.
Tua Tagovailoa
Rich Storry/USA TODAY Sports
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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is slated to speak with investigators from the NFL and NFLPA on Tuesday as part of their joint probe into Tagovailoa’s concussion evaluation on Sept. 25, Front Office Sports confirmed. 

It’s an indication that the investigation into how Tagovailoa was cleared to return after halftime against the Buffalo Bills is near completion, which one source told FOS is necessary before changes can be rolled to the current concussion protocol. 

Another source with knowledge of the matter told FOS that both the investigation’s conclusion and the additions to the protocol could “potentially” both occur before Week 5 gets underway with the Colts-Broncos game Thursday night.

“We have to find out what things we can improve on through the investigation,” one source said.   

NFL Network was the first outlet to report Tagovailoa’s interview with investigators. 

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Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL chief medical officer, said in an interview Sunday with NFL Network that changes — which have to be worked out between the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee and the NFLPA’s Mackey-White health and safety committee — could be in place by Week 5. 

Tagovailoa appeared to be wobbly after his head slammed against the turf following a late hit in the first half of the Sept. 25 game against the Bills. Tagovailoa was evaluated for a concussion as he was replaced by backup Teddy Bridgewater, but returned to the game after the examination determined he had back and ankle injuries. 

Tagovailoa was not placed in concussion protocol and started Thursday’s game against the Bengals, where he sustained a second impact to the head. He lay on the turf with his hands stiffened into a fencing position, a telltale sign of neurological distress.  

Tagovailoa was carted off the field and transported to a Cincinnati hospital, where he was released and allowed to travel back to Florida with the Dolphins. He remains in concussion protocol and has been ruled out for this Sunday.

“We’re very happy to comply with all of those things and would much rather be as transparent as possible,” Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters on Monday. “So we’re happy that all of this is taking place because we do not have anything to hide from that standpoint at all.”

One expected change is strengthening the “no-go” provisions for players who show signs of “gross motor instability,” ProFootballTalk reported. Under the current system, the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant at each game can allow a player to return if the UNC determines that the symptoms were not due to a brain injury.

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