Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa dismisses concussion concerns despite last year’s injuries: ‘Hasn’t been a thought’
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered two documented concussions last year, both of which generated controversy.
In Week 3 of last year, Tagovailoa took a hit in the game against the Buffalo Bills and wobbled to the turf. It turned out, an investigation confirmed, that he passed concussion protocol and actually hyperextended his back.
However, on short rest in Week 4, the Dolphins quarterback suffered a concussion from a hit in the game against the Cincinnati Bengals that caused his hands to curl up on the field. He was hospitalized and missed two games, and the NFL Players Association wound up firing the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who examined Tagovailoa during the game against the Bills.
Later in the season, it turned out Tagovailoa suffered another concussion in a matchup against the Green Bay Packers that initially went undetected, and he continued to play in the game. After that contest, he did not return for the remainder of the season.
In April of this year, Tagovailoa told reporters he considered retirement during the previous four months but decided playing was best for him and his family.
And now just days before he’s set to play in his first game since that December contest against the Packers, he isn’t worried about brain injuries anymore.
“I think I’m far, far ahead,” he said Thursday. “It hasn’t been a thought ever since it’s happened. Ever since I’ve been cleared, it’s never been a thought to look back at that.”
The investigation into Tagovailoa early last season brought an update in the protocol: The NFL and the NFLPA said that any player who shows “abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue,” known as ataxia, will be unable to return to the field.
The story of the 2023 Dolphins is simply “if Tua remains healthy.” The team went 8-5 in games that the Alabama product started, and his 3,548 yards in his 13 contests (two of which he left early) bring him to a full-season pace of over 4,600 yards.
Miami made the playoffs as a wild card last year, and with third-string Skylar Thompson, they almost upset the Bills in Buffalo but came up short, losing 34-31.
The Dolphins head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers on Sunday.