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The NFLPA Will Investigate Just Why Tua Tagovailoa Was Allowed to Play

The NFLPA Will Investigate Just Why Tua Tagovailoa Was Allowed to Play

Thursday night’s NFL game between Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins had two shocks. The first was that Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was allowed back on the field after taking a huge and troubling hit just four days earlier in a game against the Bills — one that left him clearly wobbly and unsteady on his feet. The second was another big hit — this time a sack from Bengals nose tackle Josh Tupou — that sent Tagovailoa to the hospital after he was carted off the field. Footage showed Tagovailoa lying prone on the field following the sack, his arms appearing to seize up in front of his face.

The very worrisome situation has raised a lot of immediate questions. Why was Tagovailoa allowed to play? If it’s really true that Tagovailoa passed evaluations prior to playing, then just what sort of evaluations are these and what good are they? And most urgently: Is Tagovailoa OK?

Dolphins first-year head coach Mike McDaniel said that Tagovailoa suffered a concussion and nothing “more serious,” which isn’t exactly reassuring. But he said that concussion was a new development, and maintained that Tagovailoa’s earlier injury was to his back.

“If there’s any sort of inclination that someone has a concussion, they go into concussion protocol that’s very strict,” McDaniel said. “People don’t vary or stray, we don’t mess with that. Never have. And, as long as I’m the head coach, that’ll never be an issue you guys will have to worry about.”

The NFL Player’s Association isn’t so sure, and they’re ready to open an investigation. “Player health and safety is at the core of the union’s mission,” the NFLPA tweeted. “Our concern tonight is for Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing.”

DeMaurice Smith is the executive director of the NFL Players Association, and he texted former NFLPA player rep Amazon’s Andrew Whitworth that the investigation will be intense. “We insisted on these rules to avoid exactly this scenario. We will pursue every legal option, including making referrals against the doctors to licensing agencies and the team that is obligated to keep our players safe.”

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