Tua Tagovailoa’s Injury and How It Affected the Team

Samantha T., Staff Writer & Photographer

Following injury during the September 29 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was out for two games. Here’s the recap of his injury and how it impacted the team in the early season.

Cincinnati’s defensive tackle Josh Tupou collided with Tua Tagovailoa. When Tagovailoa hit the ground, he threw his arms up in a gesture called a “fencing response.” Unresponsive at first, Tagovailoa was on the ground for more than seven minutes. Later he was wheeled off on a stretcher. He did not return to the game.

Tupou claims he was trying to get his first NFL sack and he never had any intention of hurting Tagovailoa. That evening, he told reporters “I was just trying to make a rolling tackle and his head hit the ground. I don’t know him. I just know he’s another Polynesian brother. I never want to hurt anybody in the NFL.”

The main concern for Tagovailoa is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is a progressive neurodegenerative syndrome. This disorder can be caused by repetitive blunt force impacts to the head. Evidence of CTE has been found in 99% of NFL players, as stated in the Military Times, as repeated head injuries increase the risk.

Tagovailoa’s risk for CTE certainly appears higher due to multiple injuries sustained in a short span of time. On Sunday night, the Dolphins faced the Buffalo Bills in a battle to take first in the AFC East. During the game, Bills linebacker Matt Milano tackled Tagovailoa to the ground during the second period. According to coaches Tagovailoa was questionable to return to the game, but took the field in the third quarter, ultimately helping the Dolphins pull out a 21-19 win over the Bills.

Tagovailoa is suffering from a very serious concussion, due to the way the Dolphins allowed him to play following the first injury. Following this second injury, the NFL put a new rule in place for the Week 5 games of the NFL season. The new rule stated, “we will prohibit a player from returning to play if he shows ataxia.” Ataxia is a symptom of a concussion. Other league players have expressed their feelings by taking to Twitter. Patriots Safety Adrian Phillips tweeted “Dude should not have been playing tonight.” Phillips’ teammate, Matthew Judon felt similarly: “It was no reason that man should [have] been in the game. SMH. Protect yourself because some people only see you as a football player.”

During Tagovailoa’s absence, the Dolphins faced the New York Jets at Metlife Stadium for Week 5. The Jets pulled an incredible 40-17 win over the Dolphins, as the Jets have not scored 40 points in one game in 4 years.

Teddy Bridgewater, who is the backup quarterback for Miami, left the game during the first quarter due to an elbow injury and a head injury. Due to the new concussion protocol rules, Bridgewater could not return. With both QBs out, the Dolphins struggled to continue winning.

By Week 6 Sunday night against the Vikings, Tagovailoa was able to play with restrictions. Tagovailoa returned to the field only to throw as part of his recovery. McDaniel, Head Coach of the Dolphins, gave a little insight: “I can say with certainty that he’s not going to play this week.”

Tagovailoa returned with full force playing in the Week 7 game against the Steelers where they came out with a win. Since Tagovailoa’s return to the field, the Dolphins have been an unstoppable force.