"Miami, We Have a Problem!" By: DR. MICHAEL GRUTTADAURIA
Incredibly, the QB cleared the NFL Concussion Protocol and to everyone’s surprise, was allowed to play in the second half of the game. Many questions were raised about the injury following the game and everyone from the Dolphins coach, to their staff to Tua himself seemed to blame the entire incident on a back injury he said he sustained earlier in the game.
The NFL Player’s Association publicly announced that they were investigating the Dolphins/NFL handling of the entire incident. https://sports.yahoo.com/nflpa-initiates-concussion-investigation-after-wobbly-tua-tagovailoa-continued-playing-vs-bills-235433110.html
Then, the unthinkable happened. The Dolphins were scheduled to play again just four days later and they announced that Tua would be the starter. He came out Thursday night looking great until a play where he was thrown to the ground again. His head bounced off the ground and he immediately went into what appeared to be a decorticate posture. His body flexed as he appeared to lose consciousness and his arms, hands and fingers became stiff and distorted - indicating a severe trauma to the brain.
With the knowledge that concussions are linked to chronic neuroinflammatory changes and more recently to neurodegenerative disease, we must do better. Tua is a professional athlete in arguably the most violent sport there is. He is tough... a modern day warrior. He is also a very young man competing on the biggest stage in the world with fame and fortune on the line. He must be protected, even if that means from himself.
Watch the progression of the injuries here:
The NFL generates close to $20 billion annually. They have the resources to facilitate change, but there appears to be conflicts of interest. Who made the final call to allow Tua to play after the first injury? Can a doctor who is employed or contracted by the NFL be truly impartial? Are they personally liable for their decision to let him play and if not, maybe they should be…we need some adults in the room.