There has been a lot of focus across the NFL regarding the league’s concussion protocols following the incident regarding quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
The 24-year-old from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, suffered a head injury in the game against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 but was allowed to continue to play on and helped lead his team to a 21-19 victory against their AFC East rivals. With a short week on the schedule due to a Thursday Night Football match against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4, he started the game but was then forced to withdraw from the field with a concussion.
According to an investigation that was launched, it is believed that the correct steps were followed, although the outcome was not what had been intended, thus forcing the NFL and the NFL Players Association to agree to changes to the protocols that are in place.
New changes to have been made
One of the changes to the protocol has included the addition of ataxia, with it being added to the list of mandatory list of symptoms that would now stop a player from being able to re-enter the game after being evaluated for a concussion.
These amendments had come into force for last week’s (Week 5) games, with Tua Tagovailoa sitting out of the defeat to one of their other AFC East rivals, the New York Jets 40-17 on Sunday as he was required to undergo further assessments.
There has been a lot of uproar around the League and fans of the NFL in regard to how the situation was handled, with many unhappy that the quarterback was allowed to be in a position to continue when it was evident that he had suffered a bad injury.
Indeed, there has been an added emphasis on player protection from the league and those to have played the game in the past regarding head injuries, with Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) injuries having been found to be suffered by players later in life. This is where they have suffered repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion.
Will Tagovailoa be ready for Week 6?
With the Miami Dolphins scheduled to play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, October 16, in Week 6, there will be many that will be wondering whether Tagovailoa will be ready to return to the field and lead out the team.
Indeed, those who bet on NFL spreads must pay attention to the lines now, because whether the team is able to cover it could be down to whether the Hawaiian-born QB is able to play or not.
And, according to the latest updates to have been provided by Head Coach Mike McDaniel, covering the spread might be a concern with punters who like this option as they may have to look at the rookie third-string QB for the upcoming game.
Both Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater remain in the concussion protocol – the latter joining him after suffering a head injury in the defeat to the Jets last week – meaning Skylar Thompson will likely get the start for Week 6. Bridgewater could return if cleared as he did not have concussion symptoms but is being evaluated as if he did due to the updated protocols, although the starting QB does appear to still be out.
McDaniel revealed that there is no definitive timeline for each of the No. 1 or No. 2 QBs at the moment, with Tagovailoa being monitored and evaluated every 12 to 24 hours at the moment. He has been seen at the team’s facility, though.
Will Miami get back to winning ways?
Regardless of who lines up as the starting quarterback in Week 6, there will be many who support the Miami Dolphins who will be hoping they can get back to winning ways after the huge defeat to the New York Jets last week.
The Vikings, though, have been incredible this season as they have managed to catapult themselves to a 4-1 record in the first five weeks, while the Dolphins are currently 3-2 through five.
It will be a tough ask for the franchise from Florida, and with two defeats having been suffered in a row (Bengals and Jets), they will want to ensure they do not slump to a third successive defeat and leave themselves in a tough position when it comes down to trying to reach the postseason.