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NFL: SEP 29 Dolphins at Bengals

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When Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was flung and slammed to the turf head first on Thursday night my heart dropped. The image of him laying on the ground, his fingers and arms stiffly contorted in weird angles, was mentally jarring. So much so that I had to turn the game off, walk outside and say a prayer for Tua.  

His significant head injury has left many people questioning the NFL’s concussion protocol and if the Miami Dolphins even should have allowed Tua to play Thursday night.  

Just five days earlier, Tua suffered what looked like to be a concussion in a game against the Buffalo Bills, but was allowed to avoid the NFL’s concussion protocol and return to the field. He was then cleared for Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Earlier this week the NFL Players Association initiated an investigation into the Dolphins’ organization for their handling of Tua’s concussion evaluation during Sunday’s game. His eye-opening injury on Thursday night will certainly add to the NFLPA’s inquiry.

Before the game, Neuroscientist Chris Nowinski, Ph.D., tweeted, “If Tua takes the field tonight, it’s a massive step back for #concussion care in the NFL. If he has a 2nd concussion that destroys his season or career, everyone involved will be sued & should lose their jobs, coaches included. We all saw it, even they must know this isn’t right.”

Sadly, he was right.

Doctors, players, and fans alike all had something to say after Tua’s injury, mostly pointing the blame at the NFL. But what about the Dolphins organization and the staff members who are paid to protect the well-being of their players?

After the game Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel was asked by a reporter, “Is there anything you feel like you would have done differently after he (Tua) went down the first time?” Without hesitation, he responded, “Absolutely not.”

When Brian Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL, claiming racial discrimination and abhorrent practices within the Dolphins organization, many people discredited his claims. But it seems he was right about the Dolphins. How can an organization or a coach say they care about a player when they allow him to put his life at risk instead of protecting him?  

Football is a violent sport where we ask our athletes to take and dish out violence for our enjoyment. Players are paid to basically not protect themselves, so coaches and organizations should do it for them. In Miami, that isn’t happening and someone needs to be held accountable.


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