NFL, NFLPA say concussion protocol was not violated after Tua Tagovailoa was injured vs. Packers

The NFL and NFLPA concluded a second investigation involving Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and determined concussion protocols were not violated after Tagovailoa was injured against the Green Bay Packers in Week 16.

The investigation reportedly concluded Tagovailoa did not show visible signs of a concussion during the contest.

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Tagovailoa played through the entire game, a 26-20 loss to the Packers. The Dolphins led the game 20-13 at halftime, but Tagovailoa threw interceptions on three straight drives in the second half, leading to the loss.

The following day, Tagovailoa was placed in concussion protocol after head coach Mike McDaniel reviewed film Monday. McDaniel said he noticed some oddities on tape, which prompted the team to question Tagovailoa about the game. The team felt Tagovailoa should speak with medical professionals following those questions. That led to Tagovailoa being placed in concussion protocols.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) and Miami Dolphins safety Eric Rowe (21) walk off the field after the Green Bay Packers defeat the Dolphins 26-20 during an NFL football game at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, December 25, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Tua Tagovailoa walks off the field after a Week 16 loss. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Tua Tagovailoa was also placed in concussion protocol after Week 4

It marked the second time this season Tagovailoa was placed in concussion protocol. The first came after Week 4, when a brutal hit sent Tagovailoa off the field on a stretcher.

That concussion came days after Tagovailoa wobbled and dropped to one knee after taking a big hit against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. Tagovailoa was allowed to stay in the game against the Bills.

After the Bills game, the Dolphins initially said Tagovailoa was out with a head injury. Later, the team claimed Tagovailoa was dealing with a back injury, and not a head injury. He was cleared to return by both the Dolphins and an independent neurologist. The NFLPA launched an investigation into the situation to make sure it was handled properly.

Following Tagovailoa's Week 4 injury, the league and NFLPA attempted to crack down on concussion protocol and reporting. The Dolphins saw the effects of that change immediately, as backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was ruled out of the team's Week 5 game after taking a big hit.

Tua Tagovailoa did not show signs of concussion during Packers game

Tagovailoa did take some hard hits against the Packers, but nothing that caused spotters to take action. NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills stood by that decision, saying Tuesday that Tagovailoa did not show any visible signs of a concussion against the Packers. The NFL and NFLPA ultimately agreed with that assessment following the most recent investigation.

Given the public nature of Tagovailoa's Week 4 injury, there are varying opinions on how the Dolphins and Tagovailoa should handle the rest of the season now that he's dealing with yet another concussion. A few former NFL players urged Tagovailoa to shut himself down. McDaniel was non-committal on whether Tagovailoa would play again during the 2022 NFL season.

The Dolphins are 8-7 and in the playoff hunt with two weeks left in the regular season. In order to stay in the playoff race, the Dolphins need to defeat the New England Patriots in Week 17. Bridgewater will get the start with Tagovailoa sidelined.