December 2, 2022

NFLPA Fires Doctor in Dua Tagovailoa Case, Ethical Changes Coming

The NFL Players Association exercised its right to remove the independent neurologist involved in the decision to return Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagoailoa to a game last Sunday after a head injury evaluation.

The NFLPA’s decision comes as the union and the NFL announced Saturday they agreed to change concussion protocols to eliminate an exception that allowed Tagowailoa to re-enter last Sunday’s game after stumbling to his feet following the hit.

The league and union said In a joint statement “They agree that changes in concussion protocol are needed to improve player safety.” They “have already begun a conversation about the use of the term ‘gross motor instability,’ and we expect changes to the protocol in the coming days based on what has been learned so far in the review process.”

The NFLPA declined to comment earlier Saturday on its decision regarding the independent doctor Joint investigation with NFL On the issue of whether concussion protocols were properly followed in the case. Union officials said on Friday Focused on clinical judgments Rather than the overall process and whether the protocol was followed as written, the matter is developed.

The league and union jointly oversee the protocol, and both sides can decide on the participation of any independent doctors — known as unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants, or UNCs — involved in the concussion-evaluation process for players.

The NFL and NFLBA said in their joint statement that their investigation is “ongoing” and that they have not reached “any conclusions regarding medical errors or ethical violations.” “We share a strong appreciation for the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants who contribute their time and expertise to our sport solely to improve player safety,” they said.

In the face of criticism, the Dolphins and the NFL are defending their decision on Dua Tagovailoa

Tagoailoa remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol after suffering a head injury during Thursday night’s game in Cincinnati. He hit the back of his head on the floor on the first half sack. Tagovailoa was there Taken from the field on a stretcher and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. According to the Dolphins, he was diagnosed with a concussion. Tagovailoa was released from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center that night and returned to Miami with the team. He underwent further tests on Friday.

He played in Thursday’s game four days after being cleared by the team doctor and UNC, per protocol, to return for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills at Miami Gardens, Fla. .

A joint investigation is underway and the doctors involved have been interviewed, a person familiar with the case said. According to the person, the NFLPA believes there were mistakes in judgment.

NFL, NFLPA to review whether concussion protocols were followed with Tua Tagovailoa

“Until we have an objective and validated method for diagnosing brain injury, everything possible should be done, including revising protocols, to further reduce the potential for human error,” said JC Tretter, former NFLPA president of the Cleveland Browns Center. In a statement on Friday. “A failure of medical judgment is a failure of ethics when it comes to the well-being of our soldiers.”

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion after a Sept. 29 game against the Bengals was “a scary moment.” (Video: Miami Dolphins)

Tagovailoa left Sunday’s game in the first half after being pushed to the ground by Bills linebacker Matt Milano. Tagovailoa got to her feet after the play, but fumbled. He left the stadium with medical staff. But Tagovailoa won and came back to start the second half. He and Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Tagovailoa suffered a back injury, not a head injury.

The protocols outline a step-by-step process for evaluating a player with a suspected head injury. A player may return to a game if cleared by both the team physician and UNC after multiple tests. The protocol states that a player should not return to a game if he exhibits “gross motor instability.” [the] The team physician should consult with the UNC and should occur neurologically.

Tretter said in his statement on Friday: “Everyone watched on Sunday [Thursday] Night ‘no-go’ symptoms were within our concussion protocol. … We need to find out how and why the decision was made last Sunday to allow a player back on the field with a ‘no-go’ sign.

The NFLPA exercised its right last Sunday to begin a joint review with the NFL into whether concussion protocols were properly followed. The league said Wednesday that a review is ongoing, but there is “every indication” that protocols were properly followed.

Alan Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said during a televised interview Friday that Tagovailoa took a long-form test called the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) last Sunday in the locker room. After returning for that game, Sills told the league-owned NFL Network that he was being evaluated daily for a concussion leading up to Thursday’s game.

“It’s something we’re reviewing together,” Sills said Friday. “What I can tell you is that in real time, these evaluations, when a player is evaluated, they’re examined and interviewed by both the team doctor and this independent neurologist. And those two advise, and they both have to agree in real time that a player is cleared to return to the game.

Sills left open the possibility Friday that concussion protocols could be changed even if it is determined that no ethics violations occurred in the case, saying, “If we find there are things we need to change, we will certainly move forward. Doing that.”

Dolphins’ Dua Tagovailoa leaves the field on a stretcher with a head injury

said George Attala, assistant executive director of external affairs for the NFLPA In a statement Friday: “The whole point of our argument on the issue of concussions for more than a decade has been to change the culture of our game from a previously fast-track focus back on the field to one that emphasizes player care above all else. .

“When the first set of protocols was implemented in 2011, they were designed with that goal in mind, and as we’ve updated those protocols each year, today’s concussion protocols are more comprehensive and safer for players than ever before.[.] But they are only effective if their users and decision-makers put patient/athlete care above test boxes and get back to work as quickly as possible.