Miami Dolphins QB Tagovailoa in good spirits as NFL review continues after concussion


Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagoailoa is in “good spirits” after Friday Receiving a shocked Head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters during Thursday night’s game.

The NFL and Dolphins are under scrutiny for their decision to let Tagowailoa play Thursday after the quarterback was injured in a game last Sunday. McDaniel said his focus right now is on Tagovailoa’s health and he’s not thinking about a timetable for his return to the field.

“(It’s) someone I grew very, very close to,” McDaniel said. “When it comes to head injuries and concussions, in serious cases, the first thing I worry about is the person.”

The NFL is reviewing the decision to play Tagovailo and will “talk with everyone involved,” its chief medical officer told CNN Friday.

“Anytime we have a situation like this, we go back to do a thorough review of everything related to the situation, and we go back to look at the video and the medical reports,” Dr. Alan Sills told CNN’s chief medical correspondent. Sanjay Gupta on Friday.

“The NFL is going to be talking to the NFL Players Association and the medical leadership involved, the team athletic trainer, the team physician, and the independent neurologist, the spotter in the booth and the neuro operator. In the booth, and the patient themselves — so that’s all going on.”

Tagovailoa was tackled by Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Josh Duboe in the second quarter and lay motionless on the field for several minutes. The entire Dolphins made their way onto the field as he was backboarded and placed on a stretcher. Bengals fans in attendance at Pacor Stadium in Cincinnati showed their respect for Tagovailo as he was carted off the field.

The video showed Tagovailoa’s forearms bent and her fingers curled — which Gupta, a neurosurgeon, said was a “fencing response” and related to the brain injury. Gupta asked Sills, a neurosurgeon, how worried he was after watching the video.

“Of course, as a neurosurgeon, I’m just as concerned as you are, and so is anyone with a significant injury and neurological symptoms,” Sills said. “The immediate concern is … making sure we do everything we can to provide the most professional and timely care … protecting the airway, preventing spinal cord injury and so on.

“I’m worried about all those injuries and bruises.”

Sills noted that the NFL will “carefully review all the steps that led to the sequence of events you described.”

“We’ll be open about the outcome of that,” Sills said.

Tagovailoa had an MRI Friday, but the CT scan and X-rays were taken after the ankle was taken off the field on a stretcher as a precaution, McDaniel said. The results of the MRI have not been released.

The Dolphins reported that Tagovailoa was conscious and had movement in all of his extremities after the injury. He was evaluated at a local hospital before being released to return to Miami with the team on Thursday.

McDaniel, a first-year NFL coach, was asked if he would have handled Tagowailoa’s situation differently. The quarterback suffered head and neck injuries during Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

“He was evaluated (for a head injury) and he was cleared after several layers of medical experts, and I’m not pretending to be one,” the coach said. “Those guys, their collection, he didn’t have any head injuries. He had back and ankle problems.

“In making the decision not to play a guy in Thursday night’s game, I’m concerned about his lower back and his ankle and the way he’s going to be in harm’s way,” McDaniel added. “I have 100% confidence in our process. … I can’t live with myself if I’ve pushed someone out prematurely and harmed them.”

Tagovailoa was fun and happy to be on the plane with her teammates during the trip home from Cincinnati after the loss, McDaniel said.

He sat down next to his head coach and began playing one of McDaniel’s favorite comedies, “McGruber.”

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