EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Miami Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is in concussion protocol and ruled out against the New York Jets after leaving the game in the first quarter.
Bridgewater was put in the protocol after the stand’s ATC spotter declared him “banned” after taking a hit during the Dolphins’ opening offensive attack, per the NFL’s amended protocol on concussions. Bridgewater passed his concussion evaluation, a source said, but the pit ATC observer believed he saw Bridgewater stumble and triggered the new addition of ataxia to the protocol’s “no-go” symptoms.
The Dolphins said Bridgewater also suffered an elbow injury.
Dolphins left tackle Terron Armstead was also ruled out for the remainder of the game after aggravating a toe injury that had him listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
Bridgewater was hit while attempting a pass on the Dolphins’ first offensive play of the game, when Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner cleared it. The pass fell incomplete but was ruled intentionally missed in the end zone, resulting in a safety. Bridgewater was quickly taken to the medical tent before being escorted to the locker room by an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant for a concussion evaluation.
He was sent off after around 40 minutes in the locker room. Seventh-round rookie pick Skylar Thompson is the only remaining quarterback on the Dolphins’ active roster.
Bridgewater was making his first start of the season in place of Tua Tagovailoa, who is on concussion protocol after suffering a concussion in Miami’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4. The Dolphins don’t have not publicly set a timeline for Tagovailoa’s return, but he did not travel to New York with the team and was not placed on injured reserve.
Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. is the Dolphins emergency quarterback.
The NFL recently changed its concussion protocol after a nearly two-week joint investigation with the NFL Players Association into the application of the protocol following an incident involving Tagovailoa. During the Dolphins’ game against the Buffalo Bills on September 25, Tagovailoa hit his head on the ground and tripped while trying to get back to huddle. The stumble was considered a manifestation of gross motor instability, which is one of the “no-go” symptoms of the protocol that requires a player to be removed from a game with no possibility of returning.
Tagovailoa was immediately taken to the locker room for a concussion evaluation, but he informed both the team doctor and the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant jointly hired by the NFL and NFLPA that a back and the ankle had tripped him; the joint investigation revealed that Tagovailoa had already reported both injuries before hitting his head on the ground.
Once it was determined that his observed instability was not neurological in origin, Tagovailoa passed his evaluation and was cleared to return to play. However, neither the team doctor nor the neurotrauma consultant examined his back during the assessment, “but instead relied on previous examination by other medical staff”. The NFLPA exercised its right to fire the neurotrauma consultant who performed Tagovailoa’s initial evaluation after the union found he made “several mistakes” during the process, beyond following the process step by step. step of the protocol, multiple sources told ESPN.
The two sides agreed on Saturday to change the protocol, adding ataxia to the list of “no-go” symptoms. The changes were implemented immediately before the start of Sunday’s matches.
“‘Ataxia’ is defined as an abnormality in balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological problem,” the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement. “In other words, if a player is diagnosed with ‘ataxia’ by any neutral club or doctor involved in enforcing concussion protocol, they will be banned from returning to play and will receive follow-up care. required by protocol.”