NFL and NFLPA Change Concussion Rules After Bills-Dolphins Saga
We have all seen the video by now.
The video of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa slamming his helmet on the turf after a push by Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano, which resulted in Tua getting up and then stumbling while shaking his head.
Tagovailoa left the game but came back at the start of the second half after apparently, clearing concussion protocol. The Dolphins said he was being evaluated for a head injury but they claimed the "gross motor instability" was due to a reaggravated back injury.
For the past two weeks, there has been a huge story surrounding the NFL, NFLPA, the Miami Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa, in regards to the league's concussion protocols and whether or not they were followed for the Bills-Dolphins week 3 game.
Tua was famously hurt against the Cincinnati Bengals four days later and left in an ambulance, after another instance of a head injury. He's already been declared out for Miami's week 5 game this Sunday but the good news is that he left the hospital that night and went home with his team.
The NFLPA launched an investigation into the matter and last Saturday, the unaffiliated neuro consultant on hand for the Tua protocol was terminated.
Today, October 8th, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to and released a statement for a new protocol that will take effect this Sunday for week 5 games.
The NFL and NFLPA say that they have determined that yes, the protocol as it was written was followed by the consultant and team physician for the Bills-Dolphins game with Tagovailoa, however, the outcome of the case with Tua was not their intention when the protocol was originally drafted and agreed to.
The league and players union have added the medical term, "ataxia" to the mandatory "no-go" symptoms.
Ataxia is defined as the "abnormality of balance/instability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue."
This means now that any NFL player who shows signs of ataxia, as Tua did after the play against the Bills, he will be prohibited from returning to the game.
You can read the full statement below, courtesy of Marcel Louis-Jacques, reporter for the Dolphins for ESPN.
After that determination, the player will receive follow-up care by the protocol.
That's not all.
Chris Mortensen reports that the NFL and NFLPA found the Dolphins did not give an exam on Tua's back, which was the original noted reason for the gross motor instability given by the team. That was a critical flaw...
It still remains to be seen what other fallout comes from all of this, but the league and NFLPA agreed the Dolphins medical staff did the protocol correctly. However, the video of Tua stumbling and the back injury reason given after the game seems to be the genesis of everything in this outcome.
The Dolphins never checked for a back injury, yet that was the reason given for Tua stumbling, which should have been taken into account and resulted in him leaving the game against Buffalo...which meant he wouldn't have gotten hurt against Cincinnati.