On Thursday night, as the Miami Dolphins looked to extend their 2022 unbeaten streak, a gruesome injury has some wondering if the future of the franchise is safe.
Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Sunday received a rather serious tackle that appeared to ring his proverbial bell, with the young superstar nearly falling over as he headed back to meet with his team.
You hate to see this for Tua. He has shut up the haters with his play and was battling toe to toe with the vaunted Buffalo Bills and MVP favorite Josh Allen. Praying for his health and for a full recovery from this. pic.twitter.com/1OV8Sq8ocj
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) September 25, 2022
The team determined that Tua was not concussed, however, and he returned to that game, leaving many fans scratching their heads.
Then, just 4 days later, tragedy struck.
Tagovailoa was stretchered off the field near the end of the first half of the Dolphins’ 27-15 “Thursday Night Football” loss to the Bengals with head and neck injuries. He was sacked by Josh Tupou, and his head forcefully slammed against the ground as he was brought down. After the hit, his fingers could be seen crooked as he remained on the ground, which broadcasters Kirk Herbstreit and Al Michael said is likely a result of neurological shock.
Video of that injury can be seen below, but we must warn you that the images may be a bit disturbing for some viewers.
Tua goes down with a scary injury. Prayers to Tua. pic.twitter.com/f9tBcBRgvQ
— Average Takes (@AverageTakes_) September 30, 2022
The Dolphins could be facing some serious consequences.
Immediately after that game, on Sunday, the NFL Players Association launched an investigation into the processes that allowed him to return. After Tagovailoa exited Thursday night’s game, the NFLPA again expressed their ongoing investigation into Tagovailoa’s injury, and subsequent clearance, from Sunday’s game.
“Player health and safety is at the core of the union’s mission,” the NFLPA tweeted Thursday night. “Our concern tonight is for Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing.”
Scarier still: Independent experts had been issuing warnings prior to Thursday night’s game:
Before kickoff, Ph.D. Chris Nowinski, CEO of Concussion Legacy Foundation, tweeted “If Tua takes the field tonight, it’s a massive step back for #concussion care in the NFL. If he has a 2nd concussion that destroys his season or career, everyone involved will be sued & should lose their jobs, coaches included. We all saw it, even they must know this isn’t right.”
This is a disaster. Pray for Tua. Fire the medical staffs and coaches. I predicted this and I hate that I am right. Two concussions in 5 days can kill someone. This can end careers. How are we so stupid in 2022. pic.twitter.com/D8S8eEbgda
— Chris Nowinski, Ph.D. (@ChrisNowinski1) September 30, 2022
The NFL has repeatedly pushed back against outside pressure regarding player safety, particularly as it pertains to concussions and other head injuries, but there may be no deflecting from this.