Tua Tagovailoa suffered a concussion and is expected to be discharged from hospital on Thursday evening

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was taken to a Cincinnati-area hospital by ambulance after suffering head and neck injuries in his team’s 27-15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.

After the game, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said Tagovailoa suffered a concussion and nothing “more serious.”

Tagovailoa, who was eliminated from the game, was conscious at all times and had full movement in his extremities. He should be released from the hospital and fly back to Miami with the team. According to McDaniel, he’s on the concussion log.

“That was an emotional moment, that’s not part of the deal that someone signs up for, even though you know in football it’s possible to have something you have to put on a stretcher,” McDaniel said. “All of his teammates and I were all very concerned so the best news we could get is that everything has been checked that he had nothing more serious than a concussion and here he is going to fly back with us on the plane.”

The quarterback’s injury came in the second quarter when he was sacked by Cincinnati defensive tackle Josh Tupou about six minutes from time in the first half and thrown to the turf, apparently hitting the back of the head. In a frightening sight, Tagovailoa lay on the ground with his arms outstretched and fingers twisted, much like a boxer or fighter after a knockout in what is known as a fencing reaction.

Tagovailoa stayed on the ground for a few minutes while coaches tended to him before a stretcher was brought out to get him off the field. He was then taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in an ambulance.

Tagovailoa’s injury comes just four days after his temporary absence from the Dolphins’ win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Tagovailoa left Sunday’s game with a head injury initially announced by the team. The QB returned to start the second half of the game and finished the win. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said after the game that Tagovailoa injured his back in the first half and the injury was aggravated by a goal from Bill’s linebacker Matt Milano.

The NFL Players Association then planned to investigate whether proper concussion protocol was being followed. The NFL confirmed Wednesday that a review was underway, but all indications were that proper protocol had been followed. The NFLPA released a statement Thursday night He explained that his investigation is ongoing and that his “concern tonight is with Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery.”

McDaniel emphasized Thursday that an independent specialist assessed Tagovailoa Sunday and he did nothing to “fake” compliance with the protocol.

“That’s why the NFL has these protocols, and there’s not every single NFL game that’s played,” he said. “There is an independent specialist who specializes in special areas of the brain, so for me as long as I train here I will not distort the whole situation. If there is any tendency for someone to have a concussion, they go into the concussion log; it is very strict. People don’t vary or stray; we don’t play around with it, we never have in my head coaching career, so it would never be an issue that you guys would have to worry about.”

Ahead of Thursday’s game, Tagovailoa was doubtful due to back and ankle pain but made the start. McDaniel does not believe the injuries sustained by Tagovailoa on Sunday were directly related to Thursday’s circumstances. He also stressed that he would never put the result of a game ahead of a player’s well-being.

“I don’t think an injury from last week caused him to fall in the same way this week but yeah I have no, like absolutely zero patience, or will ever put a player in a position where he’s in danger away,” said McDaniel. “That’s not my point at all and no result of a game would ever affect me from being the head coach of a football team.”

Tagavailoa was 8 of 14 for 110 yards, no touchdowns and one interception before his elimination on Thursday. Teddy Bridgewater took over as quarterback for the Dolphins.

The 24-year-old Tagovailoa, the fifth pick overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, is in his third season with Miami.

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