Tagovailoa Suffers Concussion, Leaves TNF Loss on Stretcher

In a scary moment during the first half of Thursday night’s game between the Dolphins and Bengals, Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was taken off the field on a stretcher and transferred by ambulance to an area hospital after enduring a big hit.

It was later announced he had suffered head and neck injuries but “nothing more serious than a concussion,” according to Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel.

Tagovailoa was trying to escape pressure and extend a second-down play when he was hit by Cincinnati’s Josh Tupou, who swung the quarterback to the ground. Tagovailoa, who landed hard on his upper back and shoulders, remained down on the field for several minutes, was immobilized on a stretcher and taken off on a stretcher by medical personnel.

Tagovailoa was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center — about five miles from the Paycor Stadium — and was diagnosed with head and neck injuries. The team quickly followed up with some positive news, announcing that Tagovailoa was conscious and had movement in all his extremities. More good news arrived just prior to the game ending, when he was discharged from the hospital and was expected to travel with the team home to Miami.

“I could tell it wasn’t the same guy that I was used to seeing,” McDaniel said. “It was a scary moment.”

Tagovailoa was injured late in the first half against the Buffalo Bills just four days earlier, stumbling and needing help off the field after a late hit. He missed the end of the first half, was evaluated for a concussion at halftime, and returned to the field in the second half after the Dolphins said it was a back injury, not a head injury, that caused him to stumble back to the huddle.

The handling of that injury and the tests administered to return Tagovailoa to the game are being investigated by the NFLPA. McDaniel said after Thursday night’s game that his quarterback was cleared by an independent neurologist earlier in the week, as pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players.

Social media was flooded by strong reaction from current and former players who questioned whether the protocols put in place to protect players were followed. Analyst Golden Tate from The 33rd Team said he empathized with the outrage.

“I’m so confused,” he said. “I’m hurt as a player.”


As an 11-year NFL veteran, Tate knows the kind of thoughts that go through player’s minds, especially injured ones, in trying to stay on the field, and they’re not always rational.

“There are times where we love this sport so much and everything it gives us that we … put ourselves last because we’re putting our teammates first, we’re putting the city first, and it’s a lot of pressure. ‘If I can just get through this game without this soreness or this hurt part of my body not getting dinged, I’ll be okay.’

“Sometimes we can’t stop ourselves because of the passion,” Tate continued. “And we find every reason on why we need to be in there and stay on the field.”

The NFLPA released the following statement after Thursday night’s game:

McDaniel was asked if there was anything he could have done differently after the Bills game in regards to Tagovailoa.

“Absolutely zero patience for or will ever put a player in position for them to be in harm’s way,” he said. “That’s not what I’m about at all. No outcome of a game would influence me to be irresponsible as a head coach of a football team.”

Backup Teddy Bridgewater entered the game for Miami on Thursday night after Tagovailoa left. He led the team to a touchdown, but his late interception sealed the victory for Cincinnati.

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