Neurologist Who Examined Dolphins QB Is Fired

NFL reevaluating its concussion protocol after Tagovailoa's 2nd head injury
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2022 9:25 AM CDT
Neurologist Who Examined Dolphins QB Is Fired
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is attended to by medical staff after being sacked by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou during an NFL football game, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Cincinnati.   (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

The NFL Players Association has fired the medical consultant who evaluated Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and cleared him to play after an apparent head injury. Per NBC News, Tagovailoa went down hard in the second quarter during Miami’s Sept. 20 win over the Buffalo Bills. Footage shows Tagovailoa attempting to shake off the hit but stumbling and falling to a knee as he returns to the huddle. He was taken to the locker room and evaluated by medical staff, who allowed him to return to the field in the third quarter. Four days later, during a Thursday night game against the Bengals, Tagovailoa’s head hit the turf again. This time, he was carried off on a stretcher and hospitalized with a concussion.

Under the NFL’s concussion protocol, teams are required to hire "unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants” who are “impartial and independent from any club." The fired consultant was not identified. According to the New York Times, dismissing the consultant “may amount to a symbolic action” because responsibility for a player’s diagnosis ultimately falls to the team doctor, not the consultant. Per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, consultants merely assist in the process and can initiate additional testing.

There was no information on whether team doctors or other Dolphins staff would face disciplinary action, but the NFL and NFLPA said an investigation is ongoing, and both agreed that the league’s concussion protocol needs to be updated. Late Friday, Tagovailoa tweeted that he was “feeling much better and focused on recovering so I can get back out on the field with my teammates.” For now, he is sidelined indefinitely. Sports Illustrated reports that more than 1,000 Bills fans showed support for Tagovailoa by donating to his charity, the Tua Foundation, following his injury on Thursday. (Read more NFL stories.)

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