Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa told reporters on Wednesday he was unconscious after being knocked to the ground during a Sept. 29 game and has no recollection of what happened to him immediately after his head hit the grass.
The chilling revelations came as the third-year quarterback spoke to the media for the first time since the injury, which occurred in a Thursday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Getting swept away – I don’t remember that,” he said. “But I remember the things that were happening when I was in the ambulance and then when I got to the hospital.”
Tagovailoa’s injury, which was the second time in five days he had left a game with an injury, prompted the NFL and the National Football League Players Association to review and update the league’s concussion protocol.
The investigation into Tagovailoa’s first apparent head injury in a Sept. 25 game determined protocols were followed, but the outcome was not what the policy writers had expected. The quarterback returned to that game and then played four days later.
Tagovailoa told the media it had been an ordeal.
“It was a process, for sure. Having to deal with interviews, with the NFL and the NFLPA, and then going to see doctors, on the outside, with a second opinion… So a lot of it has been, I would say, pretty stressful,” he said. .
“But this is all done for player safety and I’m glad I was able to go through these things to understand more about concussion agreements, and you know, the effects, long-term, short-term, of things like I thought it was great that I was able to go through this process and be cleared,” Tagovailoa added.
A concussion is a brain injury that occurs after a blow to the head causes the organ inside the skull to move back and forth. But even after the brain itself has stopped shaking, there may be changes in the organ.
Neuroscientist Julie Stamm, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told CNN that it usually takes 10 to 14 days after a concussion for the brain to return to its baseline state.
Tagovailoa was cleared to play four days after his first injury. NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills said recently it was “extremely unlikely” that a player in a situation like Tagovailoa’s would be cleared with the updated protocols. Sills said the median clearance time was nine days.
Tagovailoa is poised to lead the Dolphins in his first game since clearing concussion protocol Sunday night at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.