Should Tua Tagovailoa have played last night for the Miami Dolphins a week after being hurt against the Buffalo Bills? That is a question that the media want to know and the fans are starting to ask.
Everywhere you look or read, someone is saying that the Miami Dolphins didn’t do Tua any favors by not protecting him this week and keeping him on the bench.
I don’t think rehashing the whole concussion/no concussion thing is needed. What we have been told by the Dolphins and also checked out by the NFL is that he cleared the protocols. The question then shifts to whether his back injury was enough that the Dolphins, on a short week, should have rested their starter to make sure he was recovered.
Last night’s hit, or non-hit if you will, has brought all this into focus. To be clear, Tua wasn’t hit. He was slammed to the ground after being wrapped up. He was thrown onto his back, neck, and head. After the game, Tua was released from a level one trauma center and made the flight home with his team. That is positive news but the questions remain.
Should he have been playing last night? It’s easy to sit in our chairs and say yes or even say no. The media will find a reason to blame the Dolphins, the new whipping boys of the NFL but there are also valid concerns.
In 2010 we watched one hit on Pat White take away his NFL career. Is Tua in a similar situation? Is this something he will need to be concerned about over his career, a one-hit away from catastrophe? It’s a fair question but we need to also back up.
Few of us are qualified to know what is going on and even fewer in the media have a medical background to talk about this with credibility. As we have seen over the last week, many think that they have a better idea of what is going on than the independent neuro docs that cleared Tua last week.
For the record, I have spent 20 years working as a paramedic and have had a lot of experience with head, neck, and back injuries and I would not offer up a theory on this one. Nor should anyone else, either way, until we know what happened and what is going on with him.
Perhaps this is just one of those freak plays in the NFL that you never want to see. For Tua, prayers are flying in from all over, and with luck, he will be back on the field but let’s hope that there are no questions about his medical checks because last night, was truly scary.