The Miami Dolphins lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football. The content of the football game quickly took a back seat after a play that sent Dolphin's quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to a brutal head and neck injury that I honestly will not share here. If you want to see the injury, it is easy to find on social media.
Going Back Less Than A Week
The Miami Dolphins' staff and medical crew expected us all to believe this was a "back injury." Maybe it is the ugly side of sports fandom that many believed, maybe it is something else. Actually, I think many people did not believe it. Here is the play in question.
Nobody struggles with their balance and equilibrium from a back injury. Thursday night, Tagovailoa's brutal injury was clear-cut and easy to see, unfortunately. Per the concussion protocols, if a player shows “gross motor instability," they are required to enter into those protocols. There is clear-cut proof of that. I do not know if there is a German word for a large group of the population wanting to say "I told you so" inoffensively, but that is what happened immediately after Tagovailoa's injury.
The NFL Or The Dolphins Needs To Pay
This is the result of allowing a player to continue and receive two concussions in a short span.
"Second impact syndrome (SIS) occurs when two concussions happen in a relatively short period of time and the second concussion is inflicted before the first has fully healed. This causes the brain to “lose its ability to self-regulate pressure and blood volume flowing” and causes rapid and severe brain swelling."
Tagovailoa should have been placed in concussion protocol after last week's game. Few things in life are binary—concussion symptoms can often be delayed or come and go, but his concussion symptoms were on camera. If the NFL treats this situation with a laissez-faire attitude then they should face some kind of consequence, because it shows they do not care about the well-being of their players. The NFLPA shared this attitude in a statement they put out around the strict concussion protocol that was obviously ignored.
“We insisted on these rules to avoid exactly this scenario. We will pursue every legal option, including making referrals against the doctors to licensing agencies and the team that is obligated to keep our players safe.”
That is aggressive language for good reason. The long-term effects for Tagovailoa are unknown at the moment. These rules are in place to protect these players from the long-term effects.
As humans, athleticism, and body training have evolved, and the effects of being hit on the football field continue to be illuminated, we as a society need to keep having a conversation about football. How long can we allow CTE and the long-term effects of these injuries to be worth the billion-dollar industry just for our entertainment? It is difficult. I enjoy watching football as much as the next person, but is it worth it?