Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa Reveals Scary Details About That Brutal Concussion

by Suzanne Halliburton
Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Tua Tagovailoa met with the media Wednesday for the first time since suffering a concussion, Sept. 29. And he described some scary moments as team athletic trainers treated him that night at Cincinnati’s Paycor Stadium.

“There was a point I was unconscious,” says Tua Tagovailoa, the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. “I remember the entire night up until the point I got tackled. I don’t remember being carted off. (But) I do remember some things from the ambulance and the hospital.”

Tagovailoa’s injury intensified a national discussion about football and concussions. Although he’s still young, Tua is one of the most high profile quarterbacks in the NFL He injured his head/back in a home game, Sept. 25, against Buffalo. Still, Tagovailoa returned to the game.

Then in the Dolphins game against the Bengals during Thursday Night Football, millions saw the hit as Tagovailoa stayed motionless on the turf. Trainers worked on him for 10 minutes, then transported him via ambulance to a local hospital. Tagovailoa was treated and released. He returned home with the rest of the team that night.

Medical staff treats Tua Tagovailoa after he was sacked by Bengals noseguard Josh Tupou.(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

NFL Strengthened Concussion Protocols After Tua Tagovailoa Injury

Bengals noseguard Josh Tupou sacked Tagovailoa. It was his first career QB sack, but one that won’t be remembered as a key defensive play.

“I was excited to get my first sack, but at the same time it’s tainted because I didn’t want to hurt Tua. I never intended to hurt him, I was just trying to make a rolling tackle and his head hit the ground.” Tupou said. He added that he didn’t know Tagovailoa, “I just know he’s another Polynesian brother. I never want to hurt anybody in the NFL.”

Meanwhile, the NFLPA fired the doctor who initially cleared Tua Tagovailoa to return against the Bills. The NFL also strengthened its concussion protocols. Now, if a player shows any sort of balance, motor coordination or speech problem, he’s not allowed back in the game. All these could be symptoms of a neurological injury.

Many wondered whether Tua Tagovailoa should even be playing so soon this season, especially if the injury he suffered against Buffalo also was a concussion. But Tua could start this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He received clearance to start playing last weekend, but it was too late for Tua to participate, Sunday.

Teddy Bridgewater, Tua’s backup, also was in concussion protocol. That left the Dolphins with rookie Skylar Thompson.

On Wednesday, Tua was running and throwing passes at the Dolphins practice complex.