Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is in the NFL’s concussion protocol, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said at a news conference Monday.
The announcement comes a day after Tagovailoa played the entire game in the Dolphins’ loss to the Green Bay Packers. It’s the second time this season the 24-year-old quarterback has landed in the concussion protocol.
It also comes months after he was in the spotlight for apparent head injuries and the league and players union agreed to update the protocol — the NFL’s guidelines for evaluating and caring for players who suffer concussions.
Daniel said Monday afternoon that he had only learned “a couple of hours ago” that Tagovailoa was showing concussion symptoms and had been placed in the league’s protocol by medical personnel. He couldn’t pinpoint a moment in Sunday’s game where Tagovailoa might have been hurt.
It is unclear whether Tagovailoa will be available to play this week against the New England Patriots, the coach said.
“I really care about every single player,” McDaniel said. “I take it seriously, so I just want him to get well and have peace of mind in that regard. It’s first and foremost, and then whatever the circumstances are, you cope after. It’s about the man and making sure he’s cleared away.”
Tagovailoa was also diagnosed with a concussion on September 29 after being sacked in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tagovailoa lay motionless on the field for several minutes before being placed on a backboard and stretcher. He missed the team’s next two games.
That concussion came days after Tagovailoa suffered an apparent head injury and was later cleared to play in a Sept. 25 game against the Buffalo Bills.
A concussion is a brain injury that occurs after a hit to the head causes the organ to move back and forth inside the skull. But even after the brain itself stops shaking, there may be changes in the organ.
In October, Tagovailoa said he did not remember being taken off the field during the Sept. 29 game.
“Being driven off – I don’t remember that,” he said. “But I remember the things that happened when I was in the ambulance and when I got to the hospital.”
He called the process of going through the protocol stressful.
“But everything is done for the safety of the players, and I’m glad I had to go through these things to understand more of the concussion deals and, you know, the effects, long-term, short-term, things like that. I thought it was great that I was able to go through that process and get cleared,” Tagovailoa said at the time.
The Dolphins occupy the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC, one game ahead of the Patriots. The Dolphins have two weeks left in their regular season.