Major Update On Tua Tagovailoa's Injury Status
By Jason Hall
October 18, 2022
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is preparing to return to the starting lineup for his team's Sunday Night Football matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7, head coach Mike McDaniel announced on Monday (October 17).
Tagovailoa was been in concussion protocol following the Dolphins' September 29 Thursday Night Football loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, but was cleared last week and began football activities ahead of Miami's Week 6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, though still inactive for the game.
McDaniel he felt "really good" about his decision to let Tagovailoa return to the practice field ahead of his first full week of practice since experiencing the concussion.
"He's a captain. He's a captain for a reason, and as I've told you guys from the onset, I think he's a very, very good player at that position," McDaniel said via ESPN. "So very good players, they definitely give people a boost -- not because of what other people aren't but more just because he is who he is. So he's a strong fabric of this team, and that's exciting when you get to go play with one of your brothers, which is why the team will be excited, and it will be exciting."
Tagovailoa has reportedly consulted with four independent specialists, including a leading sports concussion neurologist and top neuropsychologist, since suffering the concussion last month.
Rookie Skylar Thompson started at quarterback in Week 6, but was injured midway through the game and replaced by veteran Teddy Bridgewater, who was previously alos in concussion protocol, but cleared for the game after McDaniel had already named Thompson as the starter.
Tagovailoa was ruled out of the Dolphins' Week 4 loss after experiencing head and neck injuries during a sack with 2:50 remaining in the second quarter, the team confirmed.
On September 27, the NFL confirmed it was reviewing whether Miami followed its league concussion protocol after Tagovailoa temporarily exited the team's win against the Buffalo Bills on September 25 for what was initially reported to be a head injury.
McDaniel had previously reiterated that an independent specialist evaluated Tagovailoa on Sunday and the team complied with the NFL's protocol during his postgame press conference.
"That's why the NFL has these protocols, and there's not like every single NFL game that is played," McDaniel said via NFL.com. "There's an independent specialist that specializes in specialty brain matter, so for me, as long as I'm coaching here, I'm not going to fudge that whole situation. If there's any sort of inclination that somebody has a concussion, they go into concussion protocol; it's very strict. People don't vary or stray; we don't mess with that, we never have as long as I've been head coach, so it'd never be an issue that you guys have to worry about."
On October 1, the NFL Players Association exercised its right to fire the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant involved in clearing Tagovailoa to return in Week 2, ESPN reported.