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NFL, NFLPA: No violations of concussion protocol with Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa in Week 16 game vs. Packers

The NFL and NFL Players Association announced in a joint statement on Saturday that their review into the application of concussion protocols involving Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa last week established "that symptoms of a concussion were neither exhibited nor reported until the following day" and no violations of the concussion protocol were found, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported Saturday.

"The NFL and NFLPA concluded their joint review of the application of concussion protocol involving Miami Dolphins' quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers," the statement read. "The joint review determined the protocol was not triggered. The protocol is initiated when a player receives an impact to the head and exhibits or reports signs or symptoms suggestive of a concussion. The review established that symptoms of a concussion were neither exhibited nor reported until the following day at which time the team medical personnel appropriately evaluated and placed Mr. Tagovailoa in the concussion protocol."

Tagovailoa, who missed Weeks 5-6 due to a concussion, entered the league's concussion protocol on Dec. 26 after telling team doctors he felt concussion-like symptoms one day following the Dolphins' loss to the Packers.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said on Tuesday that Tagovailoa exhibited zero injury behaviors and reported zero symptoms "that would have triggered the (league's concussion) protocol" during the Christmas Day game.

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel announced Tagovailoa's concussion diagnosis on Wednesday, and Tagovailoa was ruled out of Week 17's matchup against the New England Patriots.

It was the second time Tagovailoa had been diagnosed with a concussion during the 2022 season, and the second instance where a joint review between the NFL and NFLPA was set in motion following injuries to the Dolphins quarterback.

Tagovailoa exited a Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills in the first half with what was initially announced by Miami as a head injury. Tagovailoa went on to return for the start of the second half and finishing the game, and McDaniel announced Tagovailoa had injured his back in the first half and the injury was exacerbated by a later hit. In Miami's next game -- a Week 4 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals the following Thursday night (Sept. 29) -- Tagovailoa was carted off the field after taking a sack in the first half and taken by ambulance to a local hospital after suffering a concussion.

The NFLPA launched an investigation following the Dolphins' Week 3 game against the Bills to determine if proper concussion protocol was followed. The NFL and NFLPA announced in a joint-statement on Oct. 8 that while "the step-by-step process outlined in the concussion protocol was followed, the outcome in this case was not what was intended" with Tagovailoa's concussion evaluation on Sept. 25.

An amendment to the league's concussion protocol was made to enhance player safety going forward:

"Specifically, the term 'ataxia' has been added to the mandatory 'no-go' symptoms," the NFL and NFLPA said in a statement at the time. " 'Ataxia' is defined as abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue. In other words, if a player is diagnosed with 'ataxia' by any club or neutral physician involved in the application of the Concussion Protocol, he will be prohibited from returning to the game, and will receive the follow-up care required by the Protocol."

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