Please assign a menu to the primary menu location under menu


Tua Tagovailoa’s week shows NFL concussion policy remains a mess – Boston Herald

The NFL players union told you what they think of the independent doctor’s diagnosis of Tua Tagovailoa’s possible concussion last Sunday after interviewing him and Dolphins team doctor John Uribe on Saturday.

They fired the independent doctor.

They thought, “many mistakes,’’ were made, according to a league source. They thought after Tua bounced his helmet off the ground last Sunday when Buffalo tackled him, shook his head upon getting up, wobbled and then collapsed to the ground that the medical issue wasn’t with his back, as Tagovailoa and the team announced.

They thought, in short, the independent doctor, whose name hasn’t been revealed, didn’t do their job properly and put Tagovailoa at risk, the source said. That doctor took the NFL of 2022 back to a few decades, to a time when the dangers of concussions weren’t as well documented and guardrails were not in place to protect players.

But to understand what this firing means, and how it fits into the larger picture, you also have to understand how this independent doctor’s role has been misrepresented this past week when people have been discussing Tua’s situation. It’s documented amid the 19 pages of the NFL’s regimented concussion protocol that is equal parts ordered and surprising.

The protocol, at its core, is a joke.

And core is there on page six.

That’s where the idea of the “independent” doctor making decisions about players’ possible concussions — which was held up this past week around the Dolphins as some purveyor of truth, justice and Tua’s health — is part fantasy.

Oh, the protocol has full pages about this doctor with the sturdy title of an “unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant.” But here’s the nut graph of that doctor’s standing and the entire protocol in action:

“For the avoidance of doubt, the responsibility for the diagnosis of concussion and the decision to return a player to a game remain exclusively within the professional judgment of the Head Team Physician …”

Bottom line: The independent doctor doesn’t have final say of anything. The team doctor decides if this independent doctor is consulted or if a player enters the concussion protocol. The team doctor decides if a player returns to the game, as Tagovailoa did last Sunday with the, ahem, back problem.

That’s the NFL Players Association’s read on it all anyway. They’re the only ones beyond the Dolphins to have talked with the doctors, too. They said the independent doctor didn’t fill his role in protecting one of their players.

Why does it matter if Tua wanted to return to the game? It matters because former first-round Dolphins pick Mike Kadish started selling his business in 2002 with the onslaught of neurological problems he said were from concussions. He son said five years ago he couldn’t return phone calls anymore.

It matters because seven members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins have been diagnosed posthumously with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease caused by repeated trauma to the head. It matters because all seven had stories of concussions, like Jake Scott walking off the field to the Buffalo locker room.

“I think this is one of yours,’’ O.J. Simpson said in escorting him back to the Dolphins.

Football is full of “funny” concussion stories that don’t sound so funny now with decades of research and knowledge. Dolphins quarterback Trent Green was knocked out so completely in Houston in 2007 he was snoring on the field. Literally snoring.

Escorted to the sideline, Green insisted to coaches and medical staff he was good to go, and to put him back in. Fortunately, common medical sense prevailed.

Saturday’s firing of the independent doctor means common medical sense didn’t prevail, according to the players union. It seems the Dolphins are always in the middle of something they shouldn’t be, even in 3-1 start. Tampering charges. Game-fixing allegations. A lawsuit from the former coach. Tanking. Bullygate.

Should Tua have been allowed back last Sunday? Should he have played Thursday? Should he play next Sunday against the New York Jets?

Everyone should agree on this much: Please, don’t play Tagovailoa again until he’s healthy. Please keep him out of football until his headaches cease, his MRI clears and the computer base-lines involving his brain taken in the quiet of the offseason are normal.

And please understand the players’ union firing of a doctor is a loud statement it thinks something went terribly wrong with protecting Tagovailoa.


Source link