NJ Representative Bill Pascrell Jr. Demands Answers From Miami Dolphins, NFL Commissioner On Mishandling Of Tua Tagovailoa Injuries

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Kevin R. Wexler-NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Miami Dolphins and the National Football League may have more to worry about, as Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion situation has reached attention at the federal level. U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell Jr. has reportedly sent a letter to both Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, demanding answers in the wake of Tua’s concussion Thursday night sustained during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Pascrell represents the ninth district of New Jersey in the House of Representatives, and is the head of Congress’s Brain Injury Task Force. Pascrell is also a member of the democratic party. Pascrell is reportedly running for re-election, as his term is scheduled to end in January 2023. After successfully making it through the Democratic primary back in June, Pascrell’s name has been put on the ballot of the upcoming general election this November.

Tagovailoa was sacked early in the second-quarter back Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou. As a result, his head bounced off the ground and remained nearly motionless after about eight minutes with his fingers stuck in an unnatural position. Officials say that it was a neurological response, a result of head trauma. As a result, Tagovailoa was transported via stretcher to a local medical facility at the University of Cincinnati. The official word is Tagovailoa suffered a head and neck injury, and that the quarterback was placed in concussion protocol–unlike the result after his injury during last Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

“After years of obfuscation and even litigation regarding links between head injuries and neurological disorders, there were positive signs that the NFL finally was trying to take seriously the impact these brain injuries can have on [the] health and safety of its players,” Pascrell said.

“Working with the NFL over the years, your officials have assured the public of the NFL’s commitment to player safety and protecting athletes from brain injury. Mr. Tagovailoa’s injury on live television raises grave questions about the progress that the NFL and its teams purported to have made on this issue and how seriously the NFL is taking its commitment to player safety.” 

During Sunday’s game against the Dolphins’ division rival, Tagovailoa’s head was seen bouncing off the ground after being pushed down 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. There has been widespread outrage on social media from many players and media personalities that Tua was allowed to play again and was ultimately injured just days later. The NFLPA is conducting its own ongoing investigation into the incident and an independent neurotrauma specialist has been fired in connection with alleged faulty decision-making.

“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.

Front Office Sports has more HERE.