Concussion Controversy



FILE PHOTO: Sep 29, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou (68) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) in the second quarter at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Tagovailoa sustained a head injury on the play and left the game for treatment. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Owen Mowrer, Sport Reporter

With the recent controversy surrounding the NFL’s concussion protocol following Tua Tagovailoa’s injury, many fans are calling for an investigation into the NFL’s current concussion protocol. Although many may think that the pressure should fall on the Dolphins staff, the NFL should be responsible for protecting their players.

Even though Tagovailoa’s recent injury has sparked conversation, the concussion protocol has always been a topic of heated discussion. The league is constantly looking to improve conditions in order to protect players from serious head trauma by continually being updated with new technology. Even still, the NFL is responsible for those who are put into medical positions, like personal trainers, who would have been the doctors who cleared Tagovailoa following the dramatic injury. Despite the league not directly hiring medical professionals, they can do background checks on those who are hired and ensure that they are able for the job.

The harmful effects of brain injury on NFL players are no secret; chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is extremely common as 87% of studied players were found to have CTE in a study conducted by Boston University. among current and former players. Brain injuries that have become so common the NFL players association decide to take action. They released a statement saying, “Our union has agreed to change the concussion protocols to protect players from returning to play in the case of any similar incident to what we saw on September 25.”

Some would argue that players know what they are getting into by being NFL players. Even though this is true, players should still have the right to their own safety rather than being forced to put their life on the line play after play. It is also important to remember that being a football player is their job which they get paid millions to do and they deserve personal safety.

The reason why the blame falls on the NFL rather than the Dolphins also has to do with the responsibility each party took after their star quarterback’s injury. The Dolphins fired a medical trainer following the clearing that Tagovailoa received. The NFL on the other hand has not taken any major action besides the players association.

Along with the response from the organization, Dolphins head coach Mike Mcdaniel displayed his sympathy for Tagovailoa. 

“I have zero patience for, and will never put a player in harm’s way,” said Mcdaniel displaying the character of Dolphins staff following the injury. 

Through coach support and the firing of the trainer who cleared Tagovailoa, the Dolphins organization has done more than enough to prove they care about player safety while the NFL remains fairly silent.

Some may argue that it is impossible to make the right call on every concussion and that the NFL can not be responsible for every head injury. The fact is that by taking steps to reduce concussions and having representatives on each team, concussions would be far less common. At the end of the day, if the NFL cares for their players as much as they claim, they should take these precautions in order to prioritize player safety and ensure that players’ longevity is preserved still.