The NFL and the Miami Dolphins are facing plenty of backlash over the handling of Tua Tagovailoa’s injury.
Tagovailoa left Thursday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals on a stretcher after suffering a head injury. He was discharged from the hospital in the evening and was later placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Well-known concussion expert and neuroscientist Chris Nowinski has been vocal about his frustrations with the way the NFL and its teams have handled concussions and other head-related injuries.
Nowinski cited a scary incident that happened last week during a high school game. Jayden Veesenmeyer, a running back for the Pleasant Plains high school team, collapsed during last Saturday’s game against Riverton. Veesenmeyer required emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma.
Nowinski stated that something similar could have happened to Tagovailoa.
In a separate tweet, Nowinski also ripped Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel.
Tagovailoa briefly left Miami’s Week 2 home game against the Buffalo Bills after his head slammed into the turf. Tagovailoa was clearly wobbly and fell to the ground, and it immediately felt like a foregone conclusion that he’d be out for the game.
However, Tagovailoa wound up returning to the game and helped Miami win 21-19. Amid backlash over the decision to let him return to the field, the Dolphins announced that Tagovailoa had suffered a “back” injury.
McDaniel announced that Teddy Bridgewater, who finished out Thursday’s game, will start in week 5 if Tagovailoa isn’t cleared for a return. Miami will visit the AFC East rival New York Jets next Sunday in the early afternoon.
In four games, Tagovailoa has completed 69.6 percent of his passes for 1,035 yards and eight touchdowns against three interceptions. Miami was one of two undefeated teams remaining heading into Week 3, but the loss to Cincy left the Philadelphia Eagles as the only unbeaten team left.