Tua Tagovailoa set to be interviewed as part of NFL-NFLPA investigation into QB’s quick return from injury, sources say

Tua Tagovailoa is set to be interviewed early this week as part of the joint NFL and NFL Players Association investigation into the injured Miami Dolphins quarterback’s early return to last weekend’s game against the Bills. of Buffalo, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The league and players’ association said Saturday their review is ongoing, but added that they agree that “modifications to concussion protocol are needed to improve player safety.”

A league official told Schefter the investigation is expected to last another week or two and the results will be announced “almost immediately after”.

Tagovailoa is expected to return to the Dolphins facility on Monday, sources tell Schefter, as he continues to undergo concussion protocol following the head injury that forced him out of Thursday night’s game against the Bengals. from Cincinnati. Images of Tagovailoa’s brain are being sent to three independent doctors to get as much opinion as possible on his condition.

Tagovailoa initially appeared to have concussion symptoms after the blow to the head late in the first half of Miami’s Week 3 home game against Buffalo, but was cleared by a team doctor and an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant to return in the second half. Tagovailoa and the team later said his legs were wonky due to a back injury.

After Thursday’s hit, in which 6-foot-3, 340-pound Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou threw Tagovailoa backwards into the turf, the quarterback’s hands froze and his fingers flexed awkwardly in front of his face mask for several seconds while lying down. on the ground in Cincinnati. He remained on the ground for several minutes until he was carried out on a stretcher and sent to hospital. He was released from the hospital and returned home with the Dolphins a few hours later.

It is not known if there was a correlation between the two injuries. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Friday that Tagovailoa will be out indefinitely.

The NFLPA fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant on Saturday, saying in a joint statement with the league that it “expects protocol changes to be made in the coming days based on what has been learned so far in the process. examination”. Sources told ESPN the dismissal came after the consultant was found to have made “several errors” in his assessment of Tagovailoa.

There are three unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants at each game; they are paid jointly by the league and the players’ union to work with team doctors to diagnose concussions. The NFLPA and the league each have the right to fire a UNC without the other party’s agreement.

McDaniel defended the Dolphins’ handling of Tagovailoa’s injury against the Bills, when he received a hit from linebacker Matt Milano and appeared to hit his head on the turf. McDaniel reiterated Friday that Tagovailoa was cleared by multiple layers of medical professionals during that game and said the third-year quarterback did not have a head injury, which is why he doesn’t. was not in concussion protocol before Thursday’s game.

ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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