The NFL Players Association has fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who evaluated Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa after he stumbled off the field against Buffalo last Sunday, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
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The person who confirmed the firing, first reported by Pro Football Talk, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Saturday because a joint review by the NFL and its players’ union into Tagovailoa’s quick return to that game is ongoing.
There are three unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants (UNC) at each game. They are jointly paid by the league and the players’ union. The NFLPA is exercising its right to terminate the UNC directly involved in the decision to clear Tagovailoa, who sustained a concussion following a frightening hit just four days later at Cincinnati on Thursday night.
Tagovailoa seemed to exhibit concussion symptoms after the hit to his head during the home game against Buffalo but was cleared by a team physician and UNC to return. He and the team later explained his legs were wobbly because of a back injury.
But after the hit on Thursday, when 6-foot-3, 340-pound Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou slammed him backward into the turf, Tagovailoa was diagnosed with a concussion. He was released from the hospital and flew home with the team.
It’s unknown whether there’s any correlation between the two injuries.
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