(NewsNation) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is recovering after he was carted off the field of the Cincinnati Bengals game Thursday with head and neck injuries. The team is facing criticism, as it marked Tagovailoa’s second head injury within a week. He reportedly staggered onto his feet after taking a big hit against the Buffalo Bills prior to the Bengals game.
Days after the injury, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel addressed the media.
“Right now, he is in the building. He’s had a couple good days, but he’s just trying to go through with the proper procedure and protocol so that he’s feeling 100 percent,” McDaniel said.
Since then, a shoe has dropped. The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) fired the doctor who cleared Tagovailoa to play.
In a joint statement, the NFLPA and the NFL announced an investigation into the application of the concussion protocol involving the quarterback and said “modifications to the concussion protocol are needed to enhance player safety.”
The league and the NFLPA will reportedly interview Tagovailoa as part of their investigation. They said they anticipate changes to the concussion protocols in the coming days.
Alan Schwarz is a former New York Times investigative reporter who broke the NFL concussion story in 2007.
“We all saw what happened. We all saw it. Millions of people saw it. Now they’re saying, ‘Well, this doctor made a bad decision. No, the entire league OK’d the debacle,” Schwarz said.
As far as the NFL anticipating changes to concussion protocols, Schwarz says the league has been saying they would discuss the matter for years.
“You know, they’ve been saying, ‘We’re discussing and we’re investigating’ for 15 years now. And then that’s like, in this case, it’s like discussing or investigating whether the sun rose in the east yesterday. This was clear as day to everybody involved and millions of people. And my question is, who up the food chain OK’d this?” Schwarz questioned.
Former NFL player and member of the new player advocacy committee Ricky Ray believes concussion protocols need to be taken seriously for players.
“This talk that the NFL and, you know, all the other people who want to talk about something after the fact, I think it’s just hogwash. And I think that putting guys in jeopardy and their lives in jeopardy, I think it’s serious business. And I think they need to look at it like that,” Ray said.
Earlier, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel defended his decision to play Tagovailoa despite his injury in the previous game.
Monday, McDaniels said: “I wouldn’t have put him out there if there was any inclination given to me whatsoever that he was endangering himself from that previous game.”
The NFL’s chief medical officer defended their protocols to NFL.com and said Tagovailoa was checked for concussion symptoms every day leading up to the day of the game.
Still, Schwarz does not think the incident with Tagovailoa will lead to any lasting change.
“I don’t think this incident with Tua is going to lead to any lasting change because they keep making the same mistakes and all they have to do to make change is to say, ‘you know what, when we see a guy fall over after a hit to the head, we’re not going to say, ‘Oh, it was back spasms.’ If they couldn’t have made that change by now, I have no confidence that they will make it in the future,” Schwarz said.
McDaniels claims all safety protocols were followed. Tagovailoa will not play this Sunday.