Dolphins’ Tagovailoa reportedly interviewed as concussion investigation continues

David Santiago/dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is being interviewed Tuesday as the joint NFL and NFL Players Association investigation into his concussion check continues, NFL Network reported.

The NFLPA initiated an investigation after Tagovailoa hit his head on the ground against the Buffalo Bills and stumbled on Sept. 25 but was evaluated for a head injury and cleared to return to the game.

Tagovailoa sustained a concussion and had to be carted off the field on a stretcher after hitting his head again on the ground at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati four days later. Tagovailoa’s injury scare sparked more questions about the team’s handling of the third-year quarterback.

On multiple occasions, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel has defended the decision to play Tagovailoa, saying he was cleared by multiple medical professionals, including an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who assists the team physician in diagnosing a player suspected of a head injury.

The consultant involved in Tagovailoa’s concussion check during the Bills game has been fired by the NFLPA, a source confirmed to the Miami Herald last Saturday, after the union found the person made multiple mistakes in the evaluation.

According to NFL Network, the union exercised its right to fire the consultant and cited several reasons, including “failure to understand his role and hostility during the investigation.”

In a joint statement Saturday, the NFL and NFLPA said their investigation “remains ongoing. Therefore, we have not made any conclusions about medical errors or protocol violations.“ The NFL has said its findings will be released publicly once the review concludes.

The two sides also said they anticipate changes to the concussion protocol in the coming days and that discussions have taken place regarding a provision in the protocol that has become a point of contention with Tagovailoa’s circumstance.

The protocols include a provision for “gross motor instability,” which disqualifies a player from returning to the game if the team physician and a neurotrauma consultant determine it is caused by neurological issues. Because Tagovailoa’s back injury was deemed to be the reason for his fall against the Bills, he was able to reenter the game, which many have said is a loophole that put him in harm’s way.

The NFL and NFLPA are expected to agree to new protocols that would prevent a player from returning to a game if he demonstrates any instability after a hit to the head.

McDaniel on Monday ruled out Tagovailoa for Sunday’s road game against the New York Jets, but he and several teammates have said Tagovailoa has been in the team’s practice facility and is in good spirits.