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Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa diagnosed with concussion flies back to Miami after being released from hospital

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa underwent additional tests Friday and remained on concussion protocol a day after hitting his head on the turf during a game, a terrifying moment that has generated controversy about how the league handles potential head injuries.

Tagovailoa had a headache Thursday night and Friday morning, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. The team was still awaiting the results of the MRI, which McDaniel said was done as an “extra precaution” in addition to the CT scans and X-rays taken the night before.

McDaniel said he didn’t have a timetable for when Tagovailoa might return.

“I’m not even thinking about schedules or anything related to him as a player right now,” McDaniel said. “It’s about Tua, the person.”

Tua Tagovailoa
Medical personnel attend to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after an injury during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium on September 29, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Tagovailoa tweeted a statement Friday night, thanking fans for their support.

“It was hard not being able to finish the game and be there with my teammates, but I’m grateful for the support and care I’ve received from the Dolphins, my friends and family, and all the people who have reached out,” he said. . “I feel much better and focused on recovering so I can get back on the pitch with my teammates.”

Tagovailoa was fired by Bengals defensive tackle Josh Topou late in the first half on Thursday. On the play, he spun awkwardly and was thrown to the grass. While on the ground, Tagovailoa appeared to display the fencing response, fingers frozen in front of his face.

He remained on the ground for more than seven minutes before being loaded onto a backboard and stretchered off the field. He was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for evaluation of him.

The Dolphins later said he was conscious and had movement in all his limbs. He was released Thursday night and flew back to Miami with the team.

McDaniel said Tagovailoa was interacting with his teammates on the flight home. She sat down next to McDaniel and talked to him about the game.

“His personality was Tua normal,” McDaniel added.

It was unclear what’s next for Tagovailoa, whose breakout season was cut short by a terrifying injury two weeks after he threw for a career-high six touchdowns in Week 2 against Baltimore.

Last Sunday against Buffalo, Tagovailoa took a hit from Bills linebacker Matt Milano late in the first half and appeared to hit his head on the turf. He stumbled as he got up and was rushed to the locker room, where he was evaluated for a concussion. He returned to the game early in the third quarter and was not in concussion protocol the following week, despite questions about why he was allowed to return to the game.

Sunday’s incident prompted the NFL and the National Football League Players Association to jointly review the extent of his injuries and whether the Dolphins followed proper concussion protocol that day.

“Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time that player is written out of the game without even thinking about it,” Concussion Legacy Foundation executive director Chris Nowinski told “CBS Mornings” co-host Nate Burleson.

Nowinski, a neuroscientist, said the Dolphins put Tagovailoa’s life in danger and failed to protect him.

“This is a failure of everyone. This is a failure of the medical team. This is a failure of the independent medical team on Sunday. This is a failure of the coaching staff. The problem is all these failures, none of them go.” be punished. The person who is punished here is Tua,” Nowinski said.

The results of the joint investigation between the NFL and the NFLPA have not yet been released, but Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel insists the Dolphins followed proper protocols last Sunday.

“If there’s any kind of inclination that someone has a concussion, they go into concussion protocol, and it’s very strict. As long as I’m the head coach, that’s never going to be an issue that they have to worry about,” McDaniel said. . .

McDaniel reiterated Friday that Tagovailoa was cleared by layers of medical professionals during that game and said he did not have a head injury.

“My job as a coach is here for the players. I take it very seriously,” McDaniel said. “And no one else in the building deviates from that.”

He added: “There was no medical indication from all resources that there was anything to do with the head. If there had been, of course I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I had put someone in there prematurely.”

The reaction on Thursday came quickly from across the NFL. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson were quick to tweet with concern for Tagovailoa’s well-being.

“Praying for you Tua,” Wilson wrote.

The NFL Players Association tweeted: “The health and safety of the players is at the core of the union’s mission. Our concern tonight is for Tua and we look forward to a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the possible protocol violation is in progress.”

Some criticized the decision to play Tagovailoa so soon after his injuries in Sunday’s game.

Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe tweeted: “That’s a serious injury. Tua shouldn’t have been out there with the trade on Sunday Thursday. Sometimes players need to protect themselves. The Dolphins let Tua down.”

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