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Tua’s successive apparent brain injuries lead to changes in NFL concussion protocol

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back to pass during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

(MIAMI GARDENS, FLA) — Changes to the way the NFL handles concussions could be in effect within a week. That’s after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered two apparent brain injuries just four days apart.

The blame seems to be on the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant or UNC who cleared the Miami QB to re-enter the game against the Bills on Sunday.
As a result, that UNC has been fired by the NFL Players Association.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, “the NFLPA exercised its prerogative to terminate the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant involved in the decision to clear Tua to return to action.”

The concussion protocol assesses players who demonstrate gross motor instability after a blow to the head. The player can only return to the game if the team physician, in consultation with the UNC, determines that the instability did not have a neurological cause.

Although specific findings have not been made regarding how and why Tua returned, the union says they lost confidence in the UNC, given that the impairment of the player was “obvious.”
Based on the available video, Tua should not have returned.

The NFLPA saw enough to move on from the UNC who was involved in the situation, regardless of the investigation’s specific findings.