The NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement on Saturday that stated that the league’s concussion protocol will be changed after major controversy surrounding the handling of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s recent injuries.
“The NFL and NFLPA agree that modifications to the Concussion Protocol are needed to enhance player safety,” the statement read. “The NFLPA’s Mackey-White Health & Safety Committee and the NFL’s Head Neck and Spine Committee have already begun conversations around the use of the term ‘Gross Motor Instability’ and we anticipate changes being made in the coming days based on what has been learned thus far in the review process.
“The NFL and NFLPA share a strong appreciation for the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants who contribute their time and expertise to our game solely to advance player safety. This program has made our game safer for the athletes who play it for the past twelve seasons.”
The NFLPA terminated the neurotrauma consultant who checked Tagovailoa for a concussion on Sept. 25 after it was found he made “several mistakes” in his evaluation of the quarterback.
The Dolphins quarterback briefly left the Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills after taking a hit and wobbling back to get ready for the next play. Many believed Tagovailoa had suffered a concussion on the play, but the team said he passed concussion protocols. Tagovailoa said he hyperextended his back, resulting in the fall.
The incident looked bad enough that the players association launched an investigation, which is still ongoing.
The league said it had “every indication” that protocol was followed properly, but four days later, Tua suffered another head injury that had him stretchered off the field. He was sent to the hospital, but was released shortly after and flew back to Miami with the team following the game.
Thursday’s injuries led to significant backlash, with many saying Tagovailoa should not have been playing and was in danger of a serious injury.