As the football-watching world waits for a resolution of the investigation regarding the decision to allow Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to re-enter a Week Three game against the Bills after striking his head against the ground, I decided to go back and re-watch the TV images generated by the moment and its immediate aftermath.
The official story is that Tua was allowed to return to the game because his “gross motor instability” was caused not by a head injury but by a back injury. The more the video is reviewed, the less credible that explanation becomes.
The play begins with 2:28 remaining in the second quarter. The full game broadcast is available on NFL+.
After throwing the ball, Tua is pushed by Bills linebacker Matt Milano. Tua falls and strikes his head against the ground. Before and during the wobbling and stumbling, Tua shakes his head, at least four or five times. He never reaches for his back.
Also, Tua seems to assume the fencing posture, with both hands pulled up toward his facemask, as they were after he struck his head on the turf in Cincinnati four nights later.
Under the concussion protocol, a player who demonstrates the fencing posture becomes an immediate “no go,” with no exceptions.
We’ve previously mentioned that the protocol requires a review of the video by the team physician and the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant. We’ve yet to hear that the video was actually reviewed. The more the video is reviewed, the harder it is to agree with the idea that the gross motor instability traces to anything other than an injury to the brain.