The NFL and NFL Players Association said in a joint statement on Saturday that their investigation into use of concussion protocols involving Tua Tagovailoa of Dolphins last week found “that symptoms of a concussion were neither exhibited nor reported until the following day” and no violations of the concussion protocol were found.
“The NFL and NFLPA concluded their joint review of the application of concussion protocol involving Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers,” the statement read. “The joint review determined the protocol was not triggered. The protocol is initiated when a player receives an impact to the head and exhibits or reports signs or symptoms suggestive of a concussion. The review established that symptoms of a concussion were neither exhibited nor reported until the following day at which time the team medical personnel appropriately evaluated and placed Mr. Tua Tagovailoa in the concussion protocol.”
Tua Tagovailoa, who missed Weeks 5 and 6 due to a concussion, informed club physicians that he was experiencing concussion-like symptoms the day after the Dolphins’ defeat to the Packers and subsequently entered the league’s concussion protocol on Dec. 26.
Tagovailoa displayed no injury-related behaviours and reported no symptoms “that would have triggered the (league’s concussion) protocol” during the game on Christmas Day, according to NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills on Tuesday.
Tua Tagovailoa was diagnosed with a concussion on Wednesday, and as a result, he was ruled out of the Dolphins’ game against the New England Patriots in Week 17.
It was the second time during the 2022 season that Tagovailoa had received a concussion diagnosis, and it was the second time that the NFL and NFLPA initiated a joint study as a result of injuries to the Dolphins quarterback.
Tagovailoa left a victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 during the first half due to what Miami first described as a head injury. After returning for the start of the second half and complete the game, McDaniel revealed that Tua Tagovailoa had suffered a back injury in the first half that had been made worse by a subsequent hit. The next Thursday night (Sept. 29), during Miami’s Week 4 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Tagovailoa was removed off the field after taking a sack and was later transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital with a concussion.
Following the Dolphins’ Week 3 game against the Bills, the NFL Players Association opened an inquiry to see if the correct concussion protocol was adhered to. While “the step-by-step process specified in the concussion protocol was followed, the conclusion in this case was not what was intended,” the NFL and NFLPA stated in a joint statement on October 8 about Tagovailoa’s concussion exam on September 25. To improve player safety moving forward, the league’s concussion protocol was revised.
“Specifically, the term ‘ataxia’ has been added to the mandatory ‘no-go’ symptoms,” the NFL and NFLPA said in a statement at the time. ” ‘Ataxia’ is defined as abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue. In other words, if a player is diagnosed with ‘ataxia’ by any club or neutral physician involved in the application of the Concussion Protocol, he will be prohibited from returning to the game, and will receive the follow-up care required by the Protocol.”
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