Tagovailoa concussion brings in NFL protocol changes; Dolphins QB out vs. Jets

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (R) gets sacked by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou (C) during the first half of play Thursday at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
1 of 5 | Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (R) gets sacked by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou (C) during the first half of play Thursday at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be out for Week 5 dues to his concussion, coach Mike McDaniel said Monday. The injury also has triggered NFL concussion protocol changes and led to a doctor's firing..

"He's in the building and had a couple good days," McDaniel told reporters at a news conference at Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens, Fla. "He is just trying to go through the proper procedure and protocol [until] he is feeling 100%.


"He is going to be diligent with it."

Tagovailoa took the second hit to his head in as many games in the second quarter of the Dolphins' 27-15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday in Cincinnati. He was ruled out for the remainder of that game and taken to a local hospital, before he traveled back to Miami that night with teammates.


Tagovailoa first hit his head four days earlier, but cleared the concussion protocol and was allowed to return to that Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins said he sustained a back injury during that collision.

A league source told UPI on Saturday that the players union and NFL's joint investigation into the matter resulted in the dismissal of an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant.

That doctor was involved in Tagovailoa's examination at the Bills game Sept. 25 in Miami Gardens, which resulted in his clearance of the concussion protocol and return to the game.

The joint investigation, which started Sept. 26, was expected to take at least two weeks. NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills said last week that the results of that review will be made public.

The league and union announced Saturday they agreed to "modifications" to the concussion protocol to enhance player safety, citing the Tagovailoa situation.

Those changes will address the use of the term "gross motor instability." Under current protocol guidelines, players can return to games if the neurotrauma consultant and team doctor determine that the gross motor instability is not caused from a neurological issue.

Tagovailoa wobbled and collapsed to the ground after he hit his back and head during the Bills game, but then cleared the protocol and was allowed to return.


The NFL concussion protocol was developed by a board of independent and NFL-affiliated physicians and scientists, including advisors for the players union.

Trainers, spotters, the team doctor, NFL game officials, coaches, teammates and unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants can initiate the protocol during games.

Sources told NFL Network that the protocol update, if formally approved by the league and union, will rule out players if they exhibit any form of gross motor instability.

"I think in terms of the new, adjusted rule, moving forward, if it is safer for one extra player, I am all for it," McDaniel said Monday. "As far as the Bills game specifically, our process and really everything involved with how we approached the situation, I am still very confident in how we did that."

McDaniel said Tagovailoa, who remains in the concussion protocol, received negative results on MRI and CT scans after Thursday's game.

Tagovailoa released a statement Friday to thank everyone for prayers and support.

"It was difficult to not be able to finish the game and be there with my teammates, but I am grateful for the support and care I've received from the Dolphins, my friends and family, and all the people who have reached out," the sidelined quarterback wrote on social media.


"I'm feeling much better and focused on recovering so I can get back out on the field with my teammates."

Teddy Bridgewater will start at quarterback for the Dolphins when they face the New York Jets. The Dolphins also signed Reid Sinnett to their practice squad Monday. Skylar Thompson is expected to be Bridgewater's top backup against the Jets.

The Dolphins and Jets will kick off at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo calls a play against the Los Angeles Rams in the third quarter at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Monday. The 49ers defeated the Rams 24-9. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

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