The NFL Players Association fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who examined Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after his head slammed into the ground during Sunday's (September 25) game against the Buffalo Bills. According to ESPN, the NFLPA claimed that the doctor made "several mistakes" during their evaluation of Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa was shaken up after a sack late in the first half when his head hit the turf. He staggered after the hit and was unable to stand for several minutes. He left the game and was evaluated by the neurotrauma consultant. He was cleared to play and returned in the second half to lead the Dolphins to a 21-19 victory.
The Dolphins said that Tagovailoa struggled to stand up after the play because of a back injury and have maintained they followed all of the league's concussion protocols when evaluating their star quarterback.
The team took even more criticism after they cleared him to play just four days later on Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tagovailoa was injured again after he was body-slammed by Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard. His head and neck violently snapped back as he hit the ground. He was motionless on the field and had to be carted off on a stretcher.
He was taken to the hospital for an evaluation. He was released later that night and flew back to Miami with the team.
The Dolphins said that Tagovailoa is in concussion protocol, and there is no timetable for his return.
On Friday, Tagovailoa said that he is "feeling much better" in a statement on Twitter.
"I want to thank everyone for all of their prayers and support since the game last night," he tweeted. "It was difficult to not be able to finish the game and be there with my teammates, but I am grateful for the support and care I've received from the Dolphins, my friends and family, and all the people who have reached out. I'm feeling much better and focused on recovering so I can get back out on the field with my teammates."