Dolphins Coach Mike McDaniel Vehemently Defends Decision To Play Tua Tagovailoa; Fans Aren’t Buying It

Dolphins Coach Mike McDaniel Defends Decision To Play Tua Tagovailoa

Getty Image


Many (almost all) NFL fans who saw Tua Tagovailoa hit his head on the turf last Sunday in the game against Buffalo, stumble and then have to be helped to stay upright couldn’t believe he was allowed to return to the game.

The 24 year-old Miami Dolphins quarterback went into concussion protocol after the troubling scene, but he and the doctors claimed it was a back injury that caused his disturbing inability to stand upright.

That diagnosis was met with much skepticism and many expressed concern about Tagovailoa coming back to play on Thursday night on such short rest.

One of those people was Chris Nowinski, Ph.D., the founding CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

“If Tua takes the field tonight, it’s a massive step back for #concussion care in the NFL,” Nowinski tweeted Thursday afternoon.

“If he has a 2nd concussion that destroys his season or career, everyone involved will be sued and should lose their jobs, coaches included. We all saw it, even they must know this isn’t right.”

Sadly, Nowinski was smarter than the medical people who are supposed to be taking care of players like Tua Tagovailoa.

After the game, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel was adamant that he and the Dolphins medical staff made the right decision to play Tagovailoa and wouldn’t have changed a thing.

“Absolutely not,” McDaniel said when asked that very question.

“That would be irresponsible in the first place, and I shouldn’t be in this position,” McDaniel added. “I do not have any — absolutely zero — patience for, or will ever put a player in position for them to be in harm’s way. That is not what I’m about at all, and no outcome of a game will ever influence me being irresponsible as the head coach of the football team.”

He wasn’t done defending the decision.

“It starts with your medical staff, but then there’s independent specialists that look into it, too,” he said. “There’s an entire protocol, and then you’re talking to the player as well. Probably, I don’t know, five or six different layers of a process in decision-making.

“I don’t think any injury from last week made him fall the same way this week.”

Mike McDaniel also painted a disturbing picture of what he saw when he went on the field to check on Tua Tagovailoa

“I knew right away that this was at least a concussion,” he said. “What I was worried about was other things on top of that. Obviously I was very worried about his head, but you want to make sure that all things with relation to the spine and back and all that stuff, you want to make sure that’s okay. But it was very clear to me from the onset that he had … I didn’t really know the degree of, but I knew he had a concussion. He was asking for me, and then when he saw me, I could just tell it wasn’t the same guy that I’m used to seeing.”

McDaniel went even further, saying if Tagovailoa had a head injury he would have been listed on the injury report with it prior to the game.

“For me, as long as I’m coaching here, I’m not going to fudge that whole situation. If there’s any sort of inclination that someone has a concussion, they go into concussion protocol and it’s very strict. People don’t vary or stray. We don’t mess with that. Never have. And as along as I’m the head coach, that will never be an issue that you guys will have to worry about it.”

Once again, many fans, including Chris Nowinski and several others in the world of medicine, were left stunned by McDaniel and the Dolphins’ decision-making.

“Unreal! Should all be fired for allowing Tua on the field for 2 games with 2 concussions with 4 days apart! Will Miami be held accountable for this???” one fan tweeted.

“Not a lot of faith and confidence in that speech. McDaniel doesn’t even sound like he believes the words coming out of his mouth. Prayers for Tua’s full recovery,” wrote another fan.

Pretty much.

Doug avatar
Before settling down at BroBible, Douglas Charles, a graduate of the University of Iowa (Go Hawks), owned and operated a wide assortment of websites. He is also one of the few White Sox fans out there and thinks Michael Jordan is, hands down, the GOAT.