Concussion Protocol

Alex T. Lewis, Student Writer

What has the N.F.L and the union done after the injury on Tua Tagovailoa and how will it impact the Hawks.

In the Dolphins Bills game Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took a late hit and hit his head hard. After being on the ground a little he stood up and and started walking then stumbled to the ground. Later in halftime he was reviewed and according to the New York Times and authors Jenny Vrentas and Emmanuel Morgan “That review showed that the protocol was followed and that Tagovailoa did not display concussion-like symptoms”. He ended up returning to the game in the second half. After the game he said, “that he aggravated a back injury which led him to stumble and fall.” (Jenny Vrentas and Emmanuel Morgan).

So why did they let him back in Evan tho he was stumbling and falling? The union took the step to dismiss the neurotrauma consultant involved with Tua’s concussion in halftime, His name was never released. But the dolphins had a great team physician John Uribe, “he is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and, according to his profile on the N.F.L Physicians Society website, received a certificate of added qualification in sports medicine in 2007” (Jenny Vrentas and Emmanuel Morgan).

It’s a question if he even cleared Tua to play in the second half, the dolphins aren’t responding to any messages seeking if Uribe accompanied him. Because he was cleared of a concussion, he went to play in the Bangles Dolphins game, and around the second quarter he took another big hit with the defender throwing him to the ground and hitting the back of his head in the turf. “Tagovailoa’s arms grew ridged, and his fingers curled in what appeared to be a ‘fencing response’” (ESPN). He was strapped to a roller and transported to the local hospital where he was ruled out with a concussion, he later was released with the team to fly back home.

So, after the controversial decision to let Tua back in the N.F.L decided to change the rules and steps of the concussion protocol. Before the rule change the protocol allowed “a player with “growth motor instability” to return to the game if doctors decided there is a orthopedic reason for his unsteadiness.” But the change now will be to establish ataxia, this is impaired balance or coordination problems changed because of damage to the brain and nerves. This means anybody with unsteady balance will be ruled out with a concussion weather it’s because of something else or not. They are changing the rule because the N.F.L wants to prevent situations like Tua “in which doctors judged he stumbled and fell because of a back and ankle injuries, not a head hit, and sent him back in” (Ken Belson, etal). After all, the N.F.L responded to his injury and took action to change and prevent this to happen again.

Now how will the Hawks add this into their program? We already have a great protocol for concussions. If a student shows any sign of a concussion, then they will be taken out for a whole week. Then after the week they will be checked again if they have symptoms, if they don’t then they can start rehab. The rehab is two days the player will have a helmet only practice with no contact and will also do a quick exercise. The second day is a full pad contact practice, you must have this practice before you can play a game and once you’ve done all of those steps your free to play. Adding in the new rule will help but if a player shows even the littlest symptoms there out, if a trainer waits till there barley standing up then that’s a problem. In the end it’s not going to affect the Hawks much, and I think the N.F.L made a smart choice to change the rule, but even with all the protocols and stuff it’s not going to change the outcome of a concussion.