The Concussion Saga in Miami. What Does Tua Coming Back This Week Mean for the Miami Dolphins?

Miami Dolphins

The Story

The play may have changed everything. Not just for the trajectory of the Miami Dolphins. But for Tua Tagovailoa’s career and the NFL’s game plan for instances as such. It was near the end of the second quarter, and Tua was playing out of his mind so far this season.

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Bringing the Miami Dolphins back the week before to win throwing six touchdowns to beat the Baltimore Ravens. To then facing the Buffalo Bills and shaking up their defense. He was heaving deep bombs to “The Cheetah” Tyreek Hill and his go-to first down and former Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle.

I mean putting up top-of-the-league numbers. He snaps the ball, goes shotgun, and releases a normal pass. And then, boom! Mike Milano of the Buffalo Bills full on with all his weight shoves Tua having him fly off his feet and back onto his head. Tua gets up, wobbles at first, and then is removed from the game.

You think it’s over right? No, he comes back and wins for the Miami Dolphins! Great, but how’s his health? The coach and training staff ruled originally as a neck and back injury. So onto the next week in Cincinnati.

And the same thing happens but worse. He rolls out, holds the ball, takes a relatively normal pull-around sack, and then the lights go out. He evokes a fencing response on the field as the crowd silences and he gets carted off. This is when the news and the world erupted. How could they let Tua play? I knew it wasn’t a back injury! He should never play again!

The Change

ESPN and others railed the Miami Dolphins medical team for allowing this to happen. How could they justify letting him back into the game against Buffalo and then letting him play on a short week in Cincinnati after showing impaired gross motor skills? Who was going to pay for this mistake?

Well the NFL responded. They as well as others were upset with the mishandling of a player and wanted to clean up their image of how dangerous it is to participate in this game. They ran a thorough investigation on the Miami Dolphins organization, firing the medical staff involved in this action, and changing the concussion rule forever.

The NFL added ataxia to the checklist of signs for what is known as a no go to return to a game. Ataxia is an “abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue recently recognized in the wake of the Tagovailoa incident.

The NFL refs have also now cracked down on defenses to safely tackle or sack quarterbacks during play. We’ve seen multiple roughing-the-passer penalties called on opposing defenses since Tua including one for Tom Brady where the athlete regularly tackled the QB.

Based on my eyes, the NFL now wants to very much limit any contact to the quarterback after he releases the ball from his hands, even if it is or isn’t out of malicious intent.

He’s Back

Well after all amid talks and controversy, we got to see Tua back on the podium excitedly talking to the reporters, seeming ready to start on Sunday versus his old Miami Dolphins head coach. He stated to the press he doesn’t remember anything from the second hit in Cincinnati where he was carted off the stretcher and that he was happy for all the love and support that showed his way.

Joe Burrow, the now Bengals quarterback also recently stated to the media that he’s had instances where he’s totally forgotten certain instances of the game during play. We’ll see this week how Tua is and hopefully, he’s ready to return in a safe manner to help his team.

We also hope that this new ruling and change to the refereeing improves the safety of the players without degrading the excitement of the game.

Check out more Miami Dolphins news.

 


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