After Tua Tagovailoa displayed concussion-like signs for a second time in a five-day span, with one confirmed concussion on Thursday after the Dolphin quarterback’s head bounced off the Cincinnati turf following a vicious second-quarter sack, Chris Nowinski, the co-founder, and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Basis, thinks Tagovailoa shouldn’t play once more this season.
This comes after Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel informed reporters following his staff’s loss that Tagovailoa suffered a concussion and nothing “extra severe,” downplaying the severity of his quarterback’s harm. Nonetheless, right now McDaniel mentioned he wouldn’t have performed Tua if he thought he was endangering his quarterback.
Tagovailoa entered concussion protocols within the first quarter of final week’s sport towards Buffalo, however was recognized with a again harm and cleared the NFL’s concussion protocols to return within the second half. Nowinski, who earned his doctorate in Behavioral Neuroscience from Boston College Faculty of Drugs, known as B.S. on the willpower instantly, noting that Tua was “exhibiting 5 blatant concussion indicators” previous to staring down Buffalo’s protection once more. Nowinski sounded the alarm earlier than Thursday’s kickoff towards the Bengals, stating how Tua was rolling the cube together with his well being by taking part in. And the worst-case situation occurred by the hands of Cincinnati’s Josh Tupou, who threw Tua to the turf.
“There’s nearly little doubt he’s had two concussions now 4 days aside, which could be career-ending,” Nowinski informed Deadspin Friday morning by telephone whereas collaborating in The Nationwide Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Drugs’s Discussion board on Traumatic Mind Harm, held in Washington D.C. “Three concussions in a season is rolling the cube together with his future. If it was me, figuring out what I’ve been by, and figuring out how younger and promising he’s, he’s not again on the sphere this season. The Dolphins screwed up. And sadly, Tua’s the one which’s going to be punished in some way.”
Nowinski, who serves on the NFL Gamers Affiliation Mackey-White Well being & Security Committee, has change into a distinguished voice on the consequences of head accidents and CTE in sports activities after struggling two concussions inside a month whereas performing for WWE. Concussions he was not trustworthy about twenty years in the past. His promising in-ring profession got here to a screeching halt and he’s “by no means been the identical.” Nobody’s informed him what is precisely unsuitable together with his mind, why he developed a sleep problem, why he received nauseous whereas figuring out for 15 years, or why he’s had extreme complications. It’s not confirmed however all indicators level to his skilled wrestling head accidents being the trigger. Nowinski retired from the squared circle at 24. That’s coincidentally Tagovailoa’s actual age.
“Your mind basically goes by metabolic and chemical adjustments that take at the very least per week and normally a number of weeks or months to get again to regular,” Nowinski, a Harvard grad, informed Deadspin. “And if in case you have this power disaster earlier than your mind has recovered, you’re going to take mind cells that have been recovering and completely kill them. So we’re speaking about everlasting mind harm. And that would imply an extended restoration or power signs that stop him from having the ability to play.”
The comprehensiveness of the NFL’s concussion protocols has come into query because of Tagovailoa returning in Sunday’s sport and taking part in once more Thursday evening, with the NFLPA initiating an investigation into how and why he was cleared to play. These head-injury parameters are in place to make sure an incident like Tua’s head smacking towards the turf and going limp, 5 days after getting rattled towards Buffalo, doesn’t occur. The NFL’s transparency of what went unsuitable and the way their system wants an overhaul turns into one of many largest storylines of the season. Miami goes from one in every of two undefeated groups with a future star behind heart to clouded unsure, all from an avoidable situation the place Tagovailoa’s well being will get prioritized. That is an ongoing calamity, regardless of ESPN’s report that Tua’s “in good spirits” after flying again with the staff post-discharge from a Cincinnati hospital.
“I don’t perceive why (Miami) would danger his profession except they didn’t like him as an individual or one thing,” Nowinski added of Tua. “No sum of money could make up for mind harm. That’s the truth we have to understand. I don’t care what the NFL fines the Dolphins or care what comes of this financially. The punishment needs to be monumental and nobody ever does this once more with one other human being.”
Tua’s concussion, carting off, escort to a neighborhood hospital, medical analysis, discharge, and convoy to make the Dolphins’ flight again to Miami took just a few hours. Tagovailoa wore a neck brace on the flight however even the smoothest aircraft trip consists of air stress at 30,000-plus toes above floor and bouts of turbulence. Sitting within the restraints of the cabin for takeoff with out sleeping was outright harmful.
“Some individuals discover that flying makes their signs worse,” the Sunnybrook Well being Sciences Centre in Ontario, Canada said relating to air journey with concussion signs. “To forestall issues, be sure to are effectively rested earlier than occurring a aircraft and sleep through the flight if you happen to can.”
Having a staff official drive Tua from Cincinnati to Miami would’ve been significantly better and even safer after a full evening’s relaxation with staff medical doctors monitoring Tagovailoa’s situation. It’s a close to 17-hour drive, however the Dolphins don’t play once more till Oct. 9 towards the Jets.
NFL Gamers Affiliation govt director DeMaurice Smith texted Andrew Whitworth and Richard Sherman, each a part of Amazon’s Thursday Evening Soccer’s protection, the next: “We insisted on these guidelines to keep away from precisely this situation. We are going to pursue each authorized possibility, together with making referrals towards the medical doctors to licensing companies and the staff that’s obligated to maintain our gamers protected.”
On the discussion board, Nowinski was surrounded by specialists making an attempt to assist the general public determine remedy for traumatic head accidents. One of many elements is full transparency on how severe concussions and CTE are.
“Sadly, the Miami Dolphins and the NFL are giving us the platform to remind individuals your mind is fragile, mind accidents can have everlasting penalties, we each must do what we will to forestall them, and we particularly must do what we will to forestall repeat accidents and let brains recuperate,” Nowinski mentioned.
To enhance the NFL’s concussion testing and protocols, Nowinski doesn’t advocate for any automated medical suspension after head accidents out of worry of elevated incentives to not report concussions within the first place. He believes the NFL’s focus needs to be on coaching staff medical doctors extra effectively and making a tradition the place they’re erring on the facet of warning. Nowinski additionally identified that the NFL supported the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention concussion-prevention phrase of “When unsure, sit them out!” As an alternative, the NFL higher adopted pointers from George Orwell’s 1984: “The Occasion informed you to reject the proof of your eyes and ears. It was their last, most important command.” Taking a look at Tagovailoa on Sunday, regardless of the way you diagnose his harm, throwing him again into the hearth on Thursday was an incredible mistake.