The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to update and modify their concussion protocol in the wake of Miami Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa’s head injury. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortenson, any player who shows signs of “ataxia,” or any clear and obvious instability, will not be allowed to return to the game. Those changes will go into action starting tomorrow.
Here’s what Mortenson tweeted a short time ago.
Ian Rapoport noted ataxia is now on the list of “no-go” symptoms that will automatically rule a player out.
This procedure has been in the works since Tagovailoa suffered a scary injury against the Cincinnati Bengals. Days after appearing to be concussed but allowed to finish out the game, Tagovailoa’s head violently hit the ground after being sacked versus the Bengals. He went into the “fencing” position, commonly associated with severe brain injuries and trauma. He was stretched off the field and taken to the hospital, though doctors released him later that night and he flew home with the team.
Days prior to the injury, Tagovailoa hit his head against the Buffalo Bills. He got up and woozily stumbled. After briefly being taken out of the game, he returned after halftime and finished playing.
Many wondered how he was allowed back into the game instead of entering concussion protocol. This new policy will mean any player who stumbles like Tagovailoa will automatically be ruled out of the game. Examples of this rule, even before it became official, have already been shown. Colts’ RB Nyheim Hines was ruled out shortly after showing the same instability in Thursday’s nights win over the Broncos.
The Steelers have dealt with concussions to both starting safeties this year. Minkah Fitzpatrick was cleared after a ten-day layoff from Week 3 to Week 4, while Terrell Edmunds will miss tomorrow’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
The NFLPA continues to investigate the Tagovailoa injury and mistakes made. One doctor has already been fired while according to Mortenson, the Dolphins failed to even check Tagovailoa for the back injury they claimed he suffered against the Bills.