Football fans want their favorite players to be warriors. We want them to fight through the aches and pains to get the W and make it to the playoffs. Of course, we all know there’s a point where a player is too hurt to play and it’s time for them to rest, recover and rehab for next season. When it’s a knee or shoulder injury, there’s no question about how certain injuries should be handled, but when it’s a concussion somehow the rules are much more complicated. No one seems to know where the boundaries and limits are because the brain is still such a mystery. However, there’s a point where you can recognize that someone has a serious problem with concussions and they need to take all the time they need to see a specialist and heal properly. For Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, that time has come.
According to ESPN, on Monday, the team announced that its starting quarterback has once again entered the NFL’s concussion protocol. This is his second time in the protocol this season. Back in week four, during a particularly scary moment while playing the Cincinnati Bengals, he took a hard hit that left him motionless on the field for several minutes. He was hospitalized for a short time, and ended up only missing two weeks. This came just four days after he was rocked by a hard hit while playing the Buffalo Bills. Though he didn’t enter the protocol after that game, he was clearly impaired, which led to serious questions for the Dolphins and the league after the incident versus Cincinnati.
Looking back at the team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, it’s possible that Tua’s sloppy play and three interceptions in the fourth quarter were due to suffering from concussion symptoms. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said: “Tagovailoa displayed and admitted to having concussion symptoms when he spoke with team doctors Monday and was immediately placed into the protocol.” The coach also stated that he’s “unsure on which play Tagovailoa might have initially suffered the concussion.”
I understand that football is a fast-paced game where a million things are happening at once, but it seems really irresponsible that no one from Miami’s coaching staff or medical team was keeping an eye on things. When Tua’s play began to drastically deteriorate, no one had questions about their star?
Yes, it’s true that no one can really help Tua unless he asks for it or outwardly shows symptoms, but the fact that this 24-year-old young man is now dealing with what could be his third concussion of the season is extremely troubling. Contrary to what the NFL and its most crazy fans think, there is life after football. At this point, Tua and his family need to start thinking about his future, not Miami’s playoff chances this season. Even with all the medical advancements 2022 provides, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the brain and how it functions. This repeated trauma cannot be easy for the Alabama alum or his brain to recover from, and as an NFL quarterback, further brain trauma is a real possibility if preventive measures aren’t taken now.
The Dolphins are 8-7 and are still firmly in the playoff picture, but none of that matters compared to Tua’s long term health. The team needs to protect its young quarterback from himself and rule him out for the rest of the season. Miami’s next game comes against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Jan. 1, with backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater set to take the first team practice reps throughout the week while Tua recovers. He’s a veteran player, who’s also spent time with the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos. Bridgewater is more than capable of leading the Dolphins for the rest of the season, there’s no need to rush Tua back onto the field. But somehow, McDaniel is still saying it’s “too early” to name a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Really!?
“I just want guys to really be done right by, by the information we have, the science and all the medical expertise that we rely on,” McDaniel told ESPN. “I care very deeply about each and every player, I take that serious. I just want him to get healthy and have peace of mind in that regard. ... It’s about the human being and making sure he’s squared away.”
If he had a knee or shoulder that wasn’t healing properly and kept getting reinjured, this wouldn’t even be a question. Why does everything change when it comes to the human brain? This doesn’t seem that complicated for the Dolphins. Either you care about the player as much as you say you do and will rule him out for the remainder of the season, or you only care about wins and Tua’s brain functions be damned. So, which is it, Miami?