NFL: NFL: Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa checked daily for concussion this week

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was checked for concussion symptoms every day this week before an independent neurologist cleared him to take the field on Thursday night, NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills said Friday.

Sills offered those details hours after reports that Tagovailoa was set to undergo an MRI exam and additional testing due to neck and head injuries sustained in Thursday night’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

CBS Sports reported that Tagovailoa traveled back to Miami with his team postgame wearing a neck brace. Initial scans performed at a Cincinnati hospital were negative. The Dolphins said he sustained a concussion, and NFL Network reported Friday that Tagovailoa has entered the league’s concussion protocol.

Tagovailoa was sacked by Cincinnati’s Josh Tupou and swung to the ground violently with 5:43 remaining in the first half. His head and upper back hit the turf hard and his fingers spasmed in an odd manner. Sills indicated in an interview with NFL Network that the quarterback’s stiffened hands were the “fencing posture,” a sign of a concussion.

Tagovailoa, 24, was down on the field for approximately 10 minutes before being taken off the field and taken by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

According to the Dolphins, Tagovailoa remained conscious throughout the night and had full movement in his extremities. Head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters that on the plane ride home, Tagovailoa was awake and in good spirits, sitting with the coach and watching the comedy movie “MacGruber.”

Tagovailoa posted a statement to social media on Friday night.

“I want to thank everyone for all of their prayers and support since the game last night,” he wrote. “It was difficult to not be able to finish the game and be there with my teammates, but I am grateful for the support and care I’ve received from the Dolphins, my friends and family, and all the people who have reached out. I’m feeling much better and focused on recovering so I can get back out on the field with my teammates.”

The injury came four days after Tagovailoa briefly left Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills and returned after passing the concussion protocol. Earlier in the week, the NFL Players Association indicated it would conduct an investigation into the quarterback being allowed to return to the field.

“Player health and safety is at the core of the union’s mission,” the union tweeted Thursday night. “Our concern tonight is for Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing.”

McDaniel said after Thursday’s game that Tagovailoa passed an evaluation by an independent neurologist and that he and the team would never jeopardize a player’s health.

“Absolutely zero patience for or will ever put a player in position for them to be in harm’s way. That’s not what I’m about at all,” McDaniel said. “No outcome of a game would influence me to be irresponsible as a head coach of a football team.”

–Field Level Media

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