Concussion Legacy Foundation CEO Chris Nowinski Outraged, Threatens Criminal Charges Following Tua Tagovailoa Injury

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After Tua Tagovailoa suffered a scary concussion during Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, there has been outrage throughout sports media at the Miami Dolphins for how they have been managing the quarterback. Tagovailoa’s head bounced off the grass, moments after he was taken down for a sack by Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou. As a result, Tagovailoa was transported via stretcher to a local medical facility at the University of Cincinnati after suffering a head & neck injury during the second-quarter.

Officials say that Tagovailoa was soon released from the hospital, and was allowed to fly back to Miami with his teammates. Tagovailoa is reportedly in “good spirits” and no structural damage was seen during initial tests. As an extra precaution, the quarterback not only wore a neck brace but is also scheduled to have an MRI.

Miami Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel claimed to media that Tagovailoa called for him after being taken down. According to Adam Beasley, who is the NFL Director of Pro Football Network, Amazon learned that Tagovailoa was asking McDaniel about the play in question prior to being taken to the hospital. McDaniel later spoke to reporters about the injury Tagovailoa sustained, saying that he currently is in concussion protocol despite being discharged.

“I could tell it wasn’t the same guy that I was used to seeing,” McDaniel said. “It was a scary moment. He was evaluated for a concussion. He’s in the concussion protocol, but he’s being discharged. It’s an emotional moment. It’s not a part of the deal you sign up for. His teammates and myself were very concerned, but he got checked out and it’s nothing more serious than a concussion.”

Tua’s injury sparked outrage at McDaniel and the Dolphins organization, with many questioning why the 24-year-old was medically cleared to compete after suffering a presumed head injury in the first half against the division rival Buffalo Bills earlier in the week. During that game, Tagovailoa’s head was seen bouncing off the ground after being pushed down to the ground by Bills linebacker Matt Milano.

Tagovailoa returned to his feet, but shook his head momentarily. As the quarterback was attempting to rejoin his teammates in the huddle, he stumbled over and was quickly taken off the field to be evaluated for a concussion. Tua’s stumble was claimed to have been a result of a back injury, and he was ultimately allowed to return in the second half against the Bills.

“Player health and safety is at the core of the union’s mission. Our concern tonight is for Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing,” the NFLPA said in a statement on Thursday.

Concussion Legacy Foundation CEO Chris Nowinski called out Tua’s return to that game and has thrown his support in for the NFL Players Association, who are currently conducting an investigation into the Dolphins for suspected violations of concussion protocols.

Nowinski feared that Tagovailoa would suffer his second concussion in less than a week prior to Thursday night’s game, and cautioned that allowing the quarterback to play would be a massive mistake on the NFL’s part. Nowinski is a neuroscientist who serves on the NFL Players Association Mackey-White Health & Safety Committee, the Ivy League Concussion Committee, the Positive Coaching Alliance National Advisory Board, and acts as an advisor to All-Elite Wrestling. After Tua suffered another concussion Thursday night, players called for media to stop replaying the scary video that showed Tua hitting the ground, his head making hard contact with the ground and some of his fingers arresting into what looked like a spasm akin to a trigger finger.

Nowinski, furious about the injury, said he took no pleasure in being right and at one point tweeted that he would push for criminal charges against the organization if anything serious occurred as a result, before later deleting the emotional tweet. He also remarked that McDaniel missed the mark by saying Tua was lucky not to suffer anything more than a concussion, remarking that two concussions in five days could kill someone and saying McDaniel just doesn’t get the seriousness of a concussion, which is a serious and traumatic brain injury.