Dolphins Under Fire for Controversial Incident Against Bills

Tua Tagovailoa

Getty Tua Tagovailoa on the field after taking a hit against the Buffalo Bills.

The Miami Dolphins are facing new pressure for their decision to allow quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to return against the Buffalo Bills despite showing what many believe to be signs of a concussion.

Tagovailoa was injured again in his team’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday, a head injury that led him to be taken from the game on a stretcher and brought to a local hospital. The team announced on Friday that the quarterback was diagnosed with a concussion and it was unclear when he would be able to return.

The injury drew new scrutiny for the team’s treatment of Tagovailoa the previous week against the Bills, when he was seen stumbling after taking a hit to the head but later returned to lead the Dolphins to a 21-19 win.


Dolphins Come Under Fire

Even before Thursday’s game and the frightening injury suffered by Tagovailoa, the Dolphins were facing lingering criticism from their decision to insert him back into the game against the Bills. As the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, the NFL Players Association said after the Bills game that it would be launching an investigation to determine how Tagovailoa was cleared to return.

“The NFLPA is initiating an investigation into the handling of #Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion check during their game against the #Bills today in Miami, per source,” he reported.

While it was up to the Dolphins to allow Tagovaiola to play against the Bills, the decision not to place him into concussion protocol was not all in their hands. The league’s concussion protocol requires an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant to work with a team trainer to determine whether a player can return after showing signs of a potential concussion.

JC Tretter, the NFL Players Association president and former Cleveland Browns center, called out the Dolphins again on Friday for allowing Tagovailoa to play against the Bills despite displaying what he called a “no-go” symptom.

“Our job as the NFLPA is to take every possible measure to get the facts and hold those responsible accountable. We need to figure out how and why the decisions were made last Sunday to allow a player with a ‘no-go’ symptom back on the field,” Tretter said in a statement posted to Twitter.

The Dolphins later said that Tagovailoa was suffering a back injury that caused him to stumble.


Bills Fans Support Tagovailoa

Though Tagovailoa was able to return to lead the Dolphins to a key victory against the Bills — giving them sole possession of the AFC East title — many Bills fans rallied to support him after Thursday’s injury. Many took to Twitter to share Tagovailoa’s charity and make donations in his honor.

After Thursday’s game, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said the team was relieved when Tagovailoa was released from the hospital on Thursday and able to return to Miami with his teammates.

“All of his teammates were so elated. I mean this was a scary, scary situation for all of us,” McDaniel said, via ESPN. “I’m sure you could tell by his teammates’ body language and everyone that was on the field. It was something that did not just go away once the game restarted. All of his teammates were absolutely elated to see him on the plane. He was elated. It brought him some joy, which was good to see. It’s one of the reasons you get into team sports.”

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