Dolphins Facing Investigation Over Injury Incident Against Bills

Tua Tagovailoa

Getty Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on the ground after taking a hit against the Buffalo Bills.

The Miami Dolphins could be facing scrutiny over a controversial injury incident in Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills.

Both teams came into the game facing a spate of injuries, with several more players going down during the game played in the sweltering Miami heat. It appeared the Dolphins suffered a very costly injury late in the first half, with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa staggering after taking a late hit from Bills linebacker Matt Milano. Tagovailoa came out of the game in favor of backup Teddy Bridgewater, with team medical staff taking him to the locker room for observation.

The Dolphins quarterback was able to return for the second half, eventually leading his team to the game-winning score in a 21-19 victory over the Bills — but the NFLPA is reportedly looking very closely at whether the team and league properly followed concussion protocol for Tagovailoa.


Dolphins Come Under NFL Scrutiny

After the hit, many speculated that  Tagovailoa would have a difficult time being cleared to return given that he was showing apparent signs of a head injury. Replays showed the back of his head hitting the turf hard after the push from Milano, then stumbling as he ran back toward the play.

But not long after the second half started and Tagovailoa was able to return, NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that it may not have been a head injury at all, but rather an ailing back that caused the Dolphins quarterback to stumble.

“My understanding of the Tua Tagovailoa situation: He tweaked his back in the 1st quarter on a sneak and didn’t miss time,” he tweeted. “After the Matt Milano hit, his back locked up — leading to him wobbling. Into the locker room for a full concussion check. Fully cleared. Now on the field.”

But the NFL Players Association has launched an investigation into the handling of Tagovailoa’s concussion check, the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.

“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.

If Tagovailoa was improperly allowed to return, it’s unclear if the Dolphins would be at fault. In the case of a player demonstrating “gross motor instability” like stumbling on the field, the league’s concussion protocol requires a team physician to work with an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant to determine whether the player is able to return.


Bills Run Out of Time

The Bills nearly overcame their spate of injuries to defeat the Dolphins, running out of time on a last-gasp drive while trailing 21-19. Josh Allen had completed 42 of a career-high 63 pass attempts for 400 yards and two touchdowns and rushed another eight times for 47 yards.

The loss knocked Buffalo out of a tie in the AFC East, allowing the 3-0 Dolphins to move into sole possession of first place.

After a short week coming off a Monday Night Football win over the Tennessee Titans, the Bills now have a full seven days to get healthy before an October 2 tilt against the Baltimore Ravens.

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