Dr. Chris Nowinski, a famed neuroscientist who specializes in concussions and CTE, didn’t mince words in his response to Tua Tagovailoa’s injury during the Miami Dolphins’ loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tagovailoa was slammed to the ground hard in the second quarter of the game. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and transferred to the hospital. The Dolphins later said he would be discharged from the hospital and fly home with the team.
Nowinski had stark criticism for the Dolphins for playing Tagovailoa after he left Week 3’s game against the Buffalo Bills briefly with an injury. It first appeared Tagovailoa had suffered a head injury after going down and stumbling trying to walk it off. But he said he had a hyperextended back.
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Initially, Nowinski called the injury a “disaster” and then reiterated a tweet he wrote before the game warning about the potential consequences if Tagovailoa got hurt again.
“Pray for Tua. Fire the medical staffs and coaches. I predicted this and I hate that I am right. Two concussions in 5 days can kill someone. This can end careers. How are we so stupid in 2022,” he wrote.
“I take no pleasure in being right. Pray for Tua. We saw this coming. Get angry. Get involved with @ConcussionLF to make sure the @NFL can't do this again.”
He later added: “You guys should go to jail for letting him play 5 days after an obvious #concussion you covered up. If he dies from second-impact syndrome, I'm pushing form murder charges.”
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McDaniel defended the handling of Tagovailoa’s injuries over the last four days.
“Otherwise we would have reported a head injury,” McDaniel said after the game. “That's why the NFL has these protocols, and there's not, like every single NFL game that is played, there's an independent specialist that specializes in specialty brain matter. For me, as long as I'm coaching here, I'm not gonna 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 long as I'm the head coach, that will never be an issue you guys have to worry about.”
The NFLPA said in a tweet they were concerned about Tagovailoa.
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“Player health and safety is at the core of the union's mission. Our concern tonight is for Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery. Our investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing,” the league’s players union said.
Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report.