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Tagovailoa shows no signs of concussion

NEW YORK (AFP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa displayed no signs of a concussion in an National Football League game last week before being placed into league concussion protocol, a joint NFL-union statement said.

The NFL and NFL Players Association announced their review of protocols applied to Tagovailoa in a 26-20 loss to Green Bay last Sunday found “symptoms of a concussion were neither exhibited nor reported until the following day” and no violations of concussion protocol were revealed.

“The joint review determined the protocol was not triggered,” the statement said.

Tagovailoa was benched for two games in October due to a previous concussion this season after a series of incidents that led the NFL to toughen its concussion protocol criteria.

Tagovailoa entered NFL concussion protocol once again on 26 December after telling team doctors he felt concussion-like symptoms a day after Miami’s loss to the Packers.

“The team medical personnel appropriately evaluated and placed Mr. Tagovailoa in the concussion protocol,” the statement said.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said Tagovailoa showed no
in-game injury behaviors and reported no symptoms “that would have triggered the protocol.”

On Wednesday, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel ruled out Tagovailoa for Sunday’s crucial game against New England, where Miami (8-7) can clinch an NFL playoff berth with a victory over the Patriots and a loss by the New York Jets.

Tagovailoa’s repeated concussion injuries have become a major concern regarding his long-term health after this season’s earlier incidents.

On 25 September, he left in the first half of a 21-19 victory over Buffalo with what was first called a head injury. Tagovailoa, who was wobbly on his feet at times before his exit, returned in the second half and finished the game with what was later deemed a back injury.

Just four days later, after being slammed to the turf and hitting his head in a game against Cincinnati, Tagovailoa had to be carted off the field and taken to a hospital with what was correctly diagnosed as a concussion.

A union probe followed to determine if concussion protocols were violated and the result announced 8 October showed that although a “step-by-step process outlined in the concussion protocol was followed, the outcome in this case was not what was intended.”

It led the NFL to amend concussion protocol to add “ataxia” — abnormal balance or stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue — to the reasons why a player cannot return to a game.

Under that condition, Tagovailoa would not have returned against Buffalo and the more severe injury against Cincinnati might have been avoided.

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