NFL greats Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy spoke about the terrifying head injury Tua Tagovailoa sustained in the Miami Dolphins’ Week 4 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Harrison and Dungy appeared on the “Football Sunday in America” pregame show before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. Harrison discussed the advice he would give his younger self on dealing with head injuries, strongly advising the younger generation of the game to take head injuries seriously.
“Number one, I’d say it’s not worth it. I was that guy. I’d get hit, the whole stadium would go around and I’d go back in the game. It’s not worth it,” the former New England Patriots said. the star said.
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“I’m asking these young men not to go back on that football field if they get hurt because I don’t want them to feel like I and so many other former players who had to deal with concussions, whether it’s depression, anxiety, paranoia, broken relationships, no being able to communicate with your spouse, things like that. CTE takes you to a dark place and I want these players to know that it’s not worth it. Please take care of yourself. Don’t depend on the NFL. Don’t depend on anyone. If something goes wrong with your head, report it.”
Dungy agreed that there should be better safeguards in case players tell coaches they feel fine without actually feeling fine.
“No one is going to think you’re soft or weak or anything like that if you’re reporting,” Harrison added. “So please, I’ll tell you again, please report it if something’s wrong with your head because life after football is serious. Five, 10, 15, 20 years from now, you’re going to feel the effects of CTE. “
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Dungy added that teams should get a bye week before playing a game on Thursday night.
Tagovailoa was pulled from Thursday night’s game with a head injury. He was tackled and tackled to the ground by a Bengals defensive lineman. The injury, coupled with him taking a big hit against the Buffalo Bills just four days before the Bengals ratcheted up concern around him. He would travel with the team back home after being released from the hospital.
The NFL Players Association has since reportedly fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who evaluated Tagovailoa on Sunday against the Bills. The NFL and NFLPA have launched a joint review of the doctor’s decision to clear Tagovailoa and allow him to return to the game.
There are three unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants at each game and are jointly paid by the league and union to work with team doctors to diagnose concussions.
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The NFL and NFLPA said they did not draw any conclusions about “medical errors or protocol violations” while the investigation is still ongoing. But the two added that “modifications are needed … to improve player safety.” They said they expect “changes to the (concussion) protocol” to happen “in the coming days based on what has been learned so far in the review process.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.