Tua Tagovailoa is scheduled to be interviewed earlier this week as part of the joint NFL-NFL Players Association investigation into the injured Miami Dolphins quarterback’s quick return to last weekend’s game against the Buffalo Bills, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The league and players’ association said Saturday their review is ongoing, adding that “changes to concussion protocol are needed to improve player safety.”
A league official told Schefter the investigation was expected to last another week or two and the results would be announced “almost immediately after”.
Tagovailoa is expected to return to the Dolphins facility on Monday, sources told Schefter, as he continues to go through concussion protocol after the head injury that forced him to pull out of Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Images of Tagovailoa’s brain are being sent to three independent doctors to get as many opinions as possible on his condition.
Tagovailoa initially appeared to be showing concussion symptoms after being hit to the head near the end of the first half of Miami’s Week 3 home game against Buffalo, but he was cleared to return for the second half by a team doctor and an independent neurotrauma consultant. Tagovailoa and the team later said his legs were shaky from a back injury.
After Thursday’s hit that slammed the 6-foot-3, 340-pound Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou Tagovailoa backwards onto the turf, the quarterback’s hands froze and his fingers flexed awkwardly in front of his face mask for a few seconds as he lay down on site in Cincinnati. He remained on the ground for several minutes before being carried away on a stretcher and taken to a hospital. He was discharged from the hospital and flew home with the Dolphins hours later.
It is not known if there was a connection between the two injuries. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Friday that Tagovailoa will be out indefinitely.
The NFLPA fired the independent neurotrauma counselor Saturday and said in a joint statement with the league that they “anticipate making changes to the protocol in the coming days based on what is learned from the review process to date.” Sources told ESPN that the firing came after it was discovered the consultant had made “several errors” in his assessment of Tagovailoa.
Each game features three independent Neurotrauma Counselors; They are paid jointly by the league and players’ union to work with team doctors to diagnose concussions. The NFLPA and the league each have the right to fire a UNC without the consent of the other party.
McDaniel has defended the Dolphins’ handling of Tagovailoa’s injury against the Bills when he took a hit from linebacker Matt Milano and appeared to bang his head on the turf. McDaniel reiterated Friday that Tagovailoa was cleaned by multiple shifts of medical workers during that game and said the third-year quarterback didn’t have a head injury, so he wasn’t on the concussion log ahead of Thursday’s game.
ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques and The Associated Press contributed to this report.