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Tua Tagovailoa Shouldn’t Have Played

by Campbell Donovan

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa rolls out of the pocket looking to throw to one of his top receivers. He pump fakes, sees the oncoming pressure and not only is he sacked, but is thrown to the ground by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou.

The following camera shot could be best described as Tagovailoa not being able to move for at least five seconds, a scene tough for viewers and players to even watch, which brought an incident with the Buffalo Bills into question.

A video of Tagovailoa circulated on Sunday of him stumbling to the ground after being pushed by Buffalo’s Matt Milano and hitting the back of his head. He returned to the game en route to a victory, but sparked some controversy in whether he should have been allowed to even leave the Miami locker room.

Why did the Dolphins allow Tagovailoa to play when he was evaluated for a concussion?

Fast forward to the aftermath of his latest injury, former NFL players have been very outspoken on the league and the Dolphins organization itself.

Concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE, have been the norm for many deaths of former NFL players.

Players such as Nick Buoniconti, Junior Seau and Vincent Jackson, who have passed away, all suffered from CTE.

You may ask, what exactly is CTE?

CTE is a progressive brain condition that is thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion, primarily involved with contact sports such as hockey, soccer and football.

According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of CTE include memory problems, aggression and suicidal thoughts.

In an interview with TMZ, Bennet Omalu, the physician who discovered CTE, said Tagovailoa should step away from the game. Omalu states in an emotional plea, “if you love your family, you love your kids — if you have kids — it’s time to gallantly walk away. Go find something else to do.”

Buoniconti, mentioned previously, is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and won the Super Bowl Championship with the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only team in league history with a perfect season.

Buoniconti is also a relative of mine, my late grandfather’s first cousin, who also coached football. His children all played soccer because of what happened to Nick’s son Marc, who was paralyzed in 1985.

My brother plays soccer and has already had one concussion.

Over the past few weeks, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has been conducting an investigation into why Tagovailoa was cleared. It turns out that an independent doctor, not affiliated with the Dolphins or the league, cleared the quarterback.

That doctor has been fired for not doing their job correctly and should be sued for malpractice, but this incident is blatantly on the Miami organization for allowing this to happen.

Yes, I understand the common urge for every athlete playing a competitive sport is to “shake it off” or “get back on the field,” but when a player is literally losing his balance on national television, you can tell something’s wrong.

The NFLPA should hand out a ton of ramifications toward the Dolphins, and it’s not the first time Miami got in hot water. This is a more serious issue.

My message to athletes on campus that participate in club or varsity sports is if something is bothering you, whether it’s your ankle, arm or head, please go visit your doctor. Shaking it off is not worth it.


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