NFL

Tua Tagovailoa reportedly speaks with NFL, NFLPA as part of ongoing review

The NFL and NFLPA are conducting a joint review of whether concussion protocols were followed properly in Tagovailoa's case.

Teammates gather around Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after an injury against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Emilee Chinn


Representatives of the NFL and the NFL Players Association planned to interview Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Tuesday as part of their joint review of whether concussion protocols were followed properly in his case, according to a person familiar with the matter.

That review could be completed this week, barring complications, according to that person.

Tagovailoa suffered a concussion, according to the Dolphins, during a game Thursday night at Cincinnati. He is being evaluated and treated under the NFL’s concussion protocols. The Dolphins have said Tagovailoa will not play in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J., but they have not specified how long he is expected to be sidelined beyond that.

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Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, has said that the findings of the joint review with the NFLPA will be released publicly. Others involved in the case already have been interviewed.

Tagovailoa was taken from the field on a stretcher during the game in Cincinnati and was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. He was released that night from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and traveled with the team on its flight back to Miami following the game. He underwent further tests Friday.

Four days before the game against the Bengals, Tagovailoa had been cleared to reenter a game against the Buffalo Bills in Miami Gardens, Fla., after he was evaluated for a possible head injury. He’d stumbled after getting to his feet following a play on which he was knocked to the ground and appeared to hit his head on the turf. Tagovailoa and Coach Mike McDaniel said after that game that the quarterback had suffered a back injury, rather than a head injury.

The NFL and NFLPA announced Saturday that they have agreed to make changes to their concussion protocols related to an exception to a provision addressing “gross motor instability.” That exception gave doctors the leeway to clear the quarterback if they determined his motor instability did not have a neurological cause, allowing Tagovailoa to return to the Sept. 25 game against the Bills. The pending protocol change probably will prevent any player who exhibits motor instability from being cleared to reenter a game.

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The announcement Saturday by the league and union came soon after the NFLPA exercised its right to remove the independent neurological expert involved in the decision to clear Tagovailoa to reenter the game. The union said Friday it was focused on the medical judgments made in the case more than the process of whether the concussion protocols technically were followed.

The NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement Saturday that their investigation “remains ongoing,” and they have not reached “any conclusions about medical errors or protocol violations.” They said they “share a strong appreciation for the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants who contribute their time and expertise to our game solely to advance player safety.”

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