Tua Tagovailoa expected to be interviewed as part of NFL-NFLPA investigation into QB’s quick return from injury, sources say

Tua Tagovailoa is expected to be interviewed early this week in the NFL and NFL Players Association’s joint investigation into the injured Miami Dolphins quarterback’s quick return to last weekend’s game against the Buffalo Bills, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The league and players association indicated Saturday that their review is ongoing, while adding that they agree that “changes to the concussion protocol are necessary to improve player safety.”

A league official told Schefter that the investigation is expected to last another week or two, and the results will be announced “almost immediately thereafter.”

Tagovailoa is expected to return to the Dolphins’ facility Monday, sources told Schefter, as he continues to go through the concussion protocol following the head injury that forced him to leave Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Images of Tagovailoa’s brain are being sent to three independent doctors to get as many opinions as possible on his condition.

Tagovailoa initially appeared to be showing symptoms of a concussion after a blow to his head late in the first half of Miami’s Week 3 home game against Buffalo, but he was cleared by a team doctor and an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant to return in the second half . Tagovailoa and the team later said his legs were shaky due to a back injury.

After Thursday’s hit, in which 6-foot-3, 340-pound Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou knocked Tagovailoa backwards into the turf, the quarterback’s hands froze and his fingers bent awkwardly in front of his face mask for several seconds as he lay. on the ground in Cincinnati. He remained on the ground for several minutes until he was taken away on a stretcher and sent to a hospital. He was released from the hospital and flew home with the dolphins hours later.

It is unknown if there was any connection between the two injuries. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Friday that Tagovailoa will be out indefinitely.

The NFLPA fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant on Saturday, saying in a joint statement with the league that it “expects changes to the protocol to be made in the coming days based on what has been learned so far in the review process.” Sources told ESPN that the firing came after it was found that the consultant made “several errors” in his assessment of Tagovailoa.

There are three non-affiliated neurotrauma consultants at each game; they are paid jointly by the league and the players’ union to work with team doctors to diagnose concussions. The NFLPA and the league each have the right to fire a UNC without the agreement of the other party.

McDaniel has defended the Dolphins’ handling of Tagovailoa’s injury against the Bills when he took a hit from linebacker Matt Milano and appeared to hit his head on the turf. McDaniel reiterated Friday that Tagovailoa was cleared by multiple layers of doctors during that game and said the third-year quarterback did not have a head injury, which is why he was not in the concussion protocol heading into Thursday’s game.

ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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