Tua Tagovailoa struck head on turf late in first half of Sunday’s game

Green Bay Packers v Miami Dolphins
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With Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa landing in the concussion protocol one day after throwing three interceptions in the fourth quarter of a 26-20 loss to the Packers, the question becomes when and how he suffered an apparent head injury, his second (and perhaps third) of the year.

Coach Mike McDaniel told reporters on Monday that the team doesn’t know when the potential concussion may have happened. Some of the folks watching the game on TV figured it out yesterday.

As early as late Sunday afternoon, a video was posted on social media showing Tua’s head strike the ground late in the first half of the game. (Adam Schefter of ESPN.com has posted what appears to be the exact same video, with the exact same framing and camera wobble, without crediting the person who originally posted it.)

The situation should spark another inquiry regarding the handling of a Tua Tagovailoa head injury. At a time when the NFL Players Association has made it clear that it wants players to be treated first and foremost as patients, Tua’s unique history should have triggered, at a minimum, a call for a concussion evaluation the moment his head struck the ground.

But the spotters didn’t notice it, or they didn’t think to require Tua to be checked.

It will be interesting to see if the NFLPA demands an investigation (it should), and whether the league does anything other than circle the wagons and/or make excuses — similar to the explanation provided after Patriots receiver DeVante Parker wasn’t removed from play while in clear distress due to a potential head injury, until teammate Nelson Agholor insisted on it.

Even as the NFLPA insists on better care for players, part of the problem continues to be that the players aren’t wired to tap out when they possibly have had their bells rung. Tua, like every other player, wants to play. He doesn’t want to give up his spot in the lineup. He wants to prove that he’s durable and capable, especially at a time when the Dolphins had lost three in a row and doubts about his abilities were creeping back in.

But a player can do himself a disservice by keeping his head down and his mouth shut about suffering a potential concussion. If the head injury contributed in any way to his head-scratching play in the fourth quarter, he and the team would have been better off if he’d self-reported any symptoms he may have been feeling, with someone else taking over.

Then again, someone who is paid specifically to watch the games with an eye out for potential head injuries should have thought to require an evaluation of Tua, if not during the final minutes of the second quarter then at halftime.

The fact that it didn’t happen proves yet again that there are flaws in the system that no amount of hired hands and talking points will ever iron out of the game. For the same reason that concussions are inevitable in football, the inability to spot all potential concussions that happen in football is also inevitable.

16 responses to “Tua Tagovailoa struck head on turf late in first half of Sunday’s game

  1. If Tua didn’t show any physical symptoms then it’s no one’s fault. Spotters can’t read minds. They also can’t pull a player just because he hit his head. Tua has to help himself by reporting it if he doesn’t feel “right”.

  2. The spotters are hired by the league office, who probably have instructed them to keep the concussions to a minimum.
    Just as one can call holding on every play, it’s just as likely there’s someone getting concussed on every play also.

  3. Take the Andrew Luck option my man and duck out. Great job at Alabama but it’s time, not MIA fan but I also don’t want to see you croak on the field.

  4. It is time to fire the Dolphins’ head coach. He is the one who made the initial decision to play Tua the first time he wobbled off the field games ago. He intentionally put the team ahead of an obviously wounded player and continued to play games with Tua’s health all season long. Now we know that Tua likely is damaged goods for the rest of the rear and that all falls back to the timeline I have outlined. This head coach is a danger to his team.

  5. Unfortunately, the next concussion is always easier to get than the prior concussion.

  6. It’s not his fault for getting hit, but watching the vids of his head impacts, it just doesn’t look like he has good learned skills or instincts about protecting his head when he falls. Every time it looks like a rag doll flopping on the ground.

    Not saying it’s easy, but I don’t see this with most QBs. And whether it’s that or bad luck or something else, I worry that he’s in real danger of something worse.

  7. I saw the video,… if that’s all it takes for Tua to get a concussion,… he should seriously consider retirement if he values his future quality of life. Maybe the NFL should just tell him to retire because if they don’t,… you know there’s a lawyer somewhere itching to file a lawsuit against the NFL.

  8. “They also can’t pull a player just because he hit his head.”
    I think they can. They probably don’t do it automatically every time a player hits his head, but I think they have the authority to do it. And with his history, they should.

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