Consultant involved in Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion check fired by NFLPA

MIAMI — The consultant involved in evaluating Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa during a concussion check last Sunday has been fired by the NFL Players Association after the union found “multiple mistakes” in the process, the Miami Herald reported.

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A source said the NFL Players Association exercised its right to dismiss the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant, ESPN reported. The NFLPA and the league each have the right to fire an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant without agreement from the other party.

Update 7:29 p.m. EDT Oct. 1: In a joint statement, the NFL and the NFLPA said the investigation “remains ongoing.”

“Therefore, we have not made any conclusions about medical errors or protocol violations,” the statement said.

The organizations added that they both shared a “strong appreciation” for unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants.

“This program has made our game safer for the athletes who play it for the past 12 seasons,” the joint statement said.

Original report: The unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant works independently from the Dolphins, the Sun-Sentinel reported. That doctor and a Dolphins team physician are supposed to work together in clearing a player that is being checked for a concussion, according to league protocols.

Tagovailoa, 24, a third-year player with the Dolphins, was originally injured on Sept. 25 during Miami’s 21-19 victory against the Buffalo Bills. The quarterback hit his head on the ground after taking a hit in the second quarter and stumbled when he returned to his feet, according to the Herald.

Tagovailoa was listed as questionable to return with a head injury and came back into the game at the start of the second half. He later said he passed a concussion test, according to the newspaper.

The NFL Players Association had asked for a review of the NFL’s concussion protocols after the Buffalo game and were angered after Tagovailoa suffered the second big hit Thursday night.

“We are all outraged by what we have seen the last several days and scared for the safety of one of our brothers,” NFLPA president JC Tretter released in a statement on Twitter on Friday. “What everyone saw both Sunday and [Thursday] were ‘no-go’ symptoms within our concussion protocols. The protocols exist to protect the player and that is why we initiated an investigation.”

During the Dolphins’ 27-15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night, Tagovailoa sustained a concussion during the second quarter. The quarterback hit his head violently on the turf after he was hit by Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou, the Herald reported. The quarterback lay motionless on the turf at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati for several moments, and his hands tensed up in a manner consistent with a fencing response, which is a symptom of a concussion, according to the newspaper.

“I didn’t want to hurt Tua. I never intended to hurt him,” the 6-foot-3, 340-pound Tupou told Bengals reporters on Friday. “I was just trying to make a rolling tackle, and his head hit the ground.”

Tagovailoa was diagnosed with a concussion and discharged hours later from a Cincinnati hospital; he flew back to South Florida with the team early Friday morning, ESPN reported. He was replaced in the game by Teddy Bridgewater.

The quarterback remains in the concussion protocol and coach Mike McDaniel said there is no timetable for his return. The coach said Friday that Tagovailoa had a headache Thursday night and Friday morning but “his personality was definitely normal Tua,” the Herald reported.

“I’m feeling much better and focused on recovering so I can get back out on the field with my teammates,” Tagovailoa said in a statement released on social media.

The NFL and NFLPA declined to comment Saturday, ESPN reported.