Tua Tagovailoa incident leaves NFL world in uproar: 'Makes me sick'

Tua Tagovailoa, pictured here after being heavily concussed against the Bengals.
Tua Tagovailoa was taken from the field on a stretcher and transferred to hospital. Image: Getty/Twitter

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was rushed to hospital after suffering a ‘sickening’ head injury during the Dolphins’ NFL clash with the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday (AEDT).

The incident occurred when Tagovailoa was brought down in a forceful tackle by the Bengals’ Josh Tupou in the second quarter, causing his head to make heavy impact with the ground.

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'THIS IS AWFUL': NFL rocked by sickening on-field incident

In concerning scenes, Tagovailoa’s hands seized up as he otherwise lay motionless on the ground.

Thursday Night Football play-by-play broadcaster Al Michaels reported that their medical expert said Tagovailoa’s actions were likely a 'neurological response to head trauma.'

After Tagovailoa was taken from the field on a medical cart, the Dolphins confirmed he had suffered head and neck injuries, but was conscious and had movement in all his extremities.

It was reported on the broadcast that Tagovailoa was taken to a level one trauma centre at University of Cincinnati Medical Centre.

Medical staff, pictured here tending to Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins.
Medical staff tend to Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Tagovailoa’s former Dolphins teammate-turned analyst for Thursday Night Football, Ryan Fitzpatrick, described the incident as one of the ‘toughest scenes’ he’d ever witnessed on a football field.

"We've all played a lot of football, but I think that was one of the toughest scenes I’ve ever seen,” Fitzpatrick said at half-time on the Thursday Night Football broadcast.

“Getting to spend a few hours with him last night, he was as happy as I’ve ever seen him, to see him do that, get knocked out, go limp, whatever it was… you could just feel it, not just with the fans, but both teams. That was a scary scene.

“As a player, you’ve got to move on and play the game. As an announcer, as an analyst, I’m having a tough time right now.”

Tua Tagovailoa, pictured here being carted off the field during the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tua Tagovailoa is carted off the field during the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Miami Dolphins under fire over Tua Tagovailoa situation

The Dolphins organisation is set to come under scrutiny for allowing Tagovailoa to take the field in the first place.

The 24-year-old was on the receiving end of another heavy hit against the Buffalo Bills just five days earlier, which left him visibly shaken and unsteady on his feet.

While both the Dolphins and Tagovailoa claimed at the time it was nothing more serious than a back injury, skepticism remains about how the team handled the situation, prompting the NFL Players’ Association launched an investigation in Miami’s concussion protocol.

Many NFL fans, pundit and even medical professionals were left wondering how Tagovailoa was allowed to play against the Bengals, while some even went as far as to call for the Dolphins medical and coaching staff to be fired.

Tagovailoa was replaced in the game by Dolphins backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

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