Dolphins Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa Returns to Practice After Back-to-Back Concussions

Tua Tagovailoa reignited discussion about NFL safety after he suffered two concussions within five days

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Emilee Chinn/AP/Shutterstock (13437097dc) Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back to pass during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, in Cincinnati Dolphins Bengals Football, Cincinnati, United States - 29 Sep 2022
Photo: Emilee Chinn/AP/Shutterstock

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is returning to the field for the first time since suffering two concussions within five days of each other.

According to ESPN, Tagovailoa is scheduled to practice with the team on Wednesday, but will not play in Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Head coach Mike McDaniel said the 24-year-old Tagovailoa was examined by several independent neurologists and was cleared to start limited activities.

"In these situations, you are relying on all medical advice and what people can do and what we've been told is he can go out and throw and do some individual work this week," McDaniel said, per the outlet. "So that's exciting for everybody just because, you know, really we just miss his personality. He's a guy that we rely on [for] that, not to mention all of his play and all that stuff."

"Now, when talking about this week and playing, I don't see a scenario — I don't see him being active," he added. "I do not plan to have him play at all."

Footage posted to social media showed Tagovailoa throwing a football on Wednesday.

Tagovailoa experienced a concussion on Sept. 25 after he was slammed into the ground while playing against the Buffalo Bills. Then, just days later on Sept. 29, he was once again slammed into the ground by an opposing player while facing the Cincinnati Bengals.

Tua Tagovailoa
David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty

While lying on the field, Tagovailoa's raised his hands and arms above him and appeared to be unable to control their movement, and medical assistance was called. Tagovailoa remained motionless on the field for around 10 minutes before being carried out in a stretcher.

This week, Tagovailoa expanded his rehabilitation activities by adding cardiovascular exercises and weight training, per NFL Network.

Repeated concussions over time have been found to lead to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disorder with a number of symptoms, such as memory loss, depression, and mood disorders.

In a joint statement released on Saturday, the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to new concussion protocols following Tagovailoa's second concussion.

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The new rules mean that players will not be able to play if they are experiencing ataxia or a lack of coordination caused by poor muscle control.

Ataxia was present in Tagovailoa's case during the Miami Dolphins' match-up against the Buffalo Bills late last month, the league's chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said during a press conference.

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