The NFL May be Changing Concussion Protocols due to Tua Tagovailoa

Traumatic Brain Injuries in Car Accidents

The NFL May be Changing Concussion Protocols due to Tua Tagovailoa

The National Football League may have to change concussion protocols due to its handling of Tua Tagovailoa after he was hit in the head multiple times. Concussion experts are sounding alarms, hoping that the NFL, players, and coaches try harder to prevent harmful head injuries. A neurotrauma expert that treated Tagovailoa was fired because Tagovailoa played the next game despite stumbling after a hard hit in the previous game. The Dolphins organization blamed his stumbling on a back injury, and he never entered concussion protocol. He was then allowed to play against the Bengals, where he sustained another head injury after being tackled. Many people including fans and former players criticized the Dolphins for their handling of Tagovailoa and allowing him to keep playing without going into concussion protocol after the game with the Bills.

Experts believe that even though more awareness has been spread about concussions and CTE, the NFL is failing at preventing these injuries. Some claim that the league has been minimizing on field signs of concussions so they have a better chance at sending injured players back out to play. There are still investigations into the injuries sustained by Tua and the Dolphins’ handling of the situation, including an interview with Tagovailoa. It has also been confirmed that he will not be playing on October 9. His MRI came out clean, but this only tells doctors that there is no structural damage or bleeding; it does not tell them if there is a concussion present.

Right after the game, the Dolphins released a statement claiming Tua was conscious and had full movement of extremities. Chris Nowinski, a former NFL player and WWE wrestler who now has a Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience, believes he saw signs of a concussion after the Bills game. He also said that Tua being carted off was the worst-case scenario for what could have happened after he was allowed to play following concussion symptoms. There is not an objective test to help screen for concussions, but Nowinski believes medical professionals could screen for concussions and could be stricter about letting players return to play.

The NFL and NDLPA released a statement claiming that modifications to the concussion protocol are needed to protect player safety. They claim discussions have begun and they could soon use the term “Gross Motor Instability” to describe injury symptoms and that changes would be made in the coming days. Firing of the doctor that cleared Tagovailoa shows that the organization made a mistake to continue letting the concussed quarterback play. Time will tell if the NFL makes changes to concussion protocol to make the game safer for players who injure their heads during a game.

Are you suffering with a brain injury? You could be entitled to compensation. Contact us today by calling 412-471-3980 or filling out our contact form and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Brad Mielke and Ivan Pereira, “NFL under fire over its concussion protocol following Tua Tagovailoa’s back-to-back game hits” ABC News (October 3, 2022). [Link]

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