Doctors: Tua Tagovailoa’s injuries underscore importance of taking concussions seriously

Doctors: Tua Tagovailoa’s injuries underscore importance of taking concussions seriously
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 5:07 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 30, 2022 at 5:20 PM HST

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii doctors and sports injury experts are concerned about Tua Tagovailoa after seeing Thursday night’s scary head injury to the hometown hero from Ewa Beach.

They’re questioning why Tagovailoa was still allowed to play after he suffered an injury on Sunday and are warning about the dangers of concussions.

It was a somber scene last night as the former Saint Louis QB was taken off the field on a stretcher, triggering concern for the local boy in Hawaii and around the country.

While the team says Tua was cleared to play, many believe the Dolphins should have erred on the side of caution.

Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel reaffirmed Friday morning that all indications leading up to their Thursday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals showed that Tagovailoa was safe to play.

He also said he didn’t go against the advice of team medical staff.

“If anything was lingering with his head, I would not be able to live with myself if I prematurely put someone out there.” McDaniel told reporters.

Even Tua took to social media on Friday to say that he is in good spirits.

But doctors are still concerned about Tua, given the injury he suffered Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

“My initial reaction actually stems back to the Bills game on Sunday when Tua was allowed to go back in and play the second half of the very same game where he was apparently injured,” sports medicine Dr. Elizabeth Ignacio.

That was later called a back injury, but Ignacio says that they shouldn’t have ruled out a concussion so quickly.

“Presume that it is a concussion, regardless of even what he said relative to back spasms or what not, but just that presentation alone should have been presumed a concussion, Ignacio said.

“Then go into the concussion protocol, which would therefore make sure he did not go back in that game.”

Fellow medical professionals also say that this is a prime example of the severity of head injuries and that being vigilant is the key to prevention.

“We’re looking for things like dizziness, we’re looking for a player to be off-balance to stumble, maybe slurred speech, maybe have some eye tracking issues,” said pediatric sports medicine Dr. Rachel Coel.

“Those are some of the classics that we’ll see as far as visual things.”

With the advancements in technology and the understanding of the brain, they still still say it’s better to be safe than sorry. “When in doubt, sit out, no single game is worth your brain health.” Coel said.

“It is always worth it to be cautious.”

Ignacio added, ““It’s not one of those bite the bullet, suck it up, machismo toughness that we possibly praise and sometimes deem heroic, that is not the case anymore.”

As far as whether or not the Dolphins took the proper protocols, the NFL’s players association says that their internal investigation is still ongoing.