During a highly anticipated matchup, rising star QB Tua Tagovailoa suffered an injury that has many questioning the NFL’s safety protocols and other members involved.

The injury that set the sports world on fire took place during Thursday Night Football on Sept. 29. With six minutes left in the first half, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was slammed to the ground leaving him in a stiffened state. Besides being a frightful sight, it had many questioning why Tagovailoa was playing in the first place.

Four days prior on Sept. 25, Tagovailoa and the Dolphins were playing the Buffalo Bills in a tough-fought game. Near the end of the first half, Tagovailoa was escaping defenders and was shoved and fell to the ground head first. After the late hit, Tagovailoa got back to his feet but started to stumble after a few steps.

Many thought that the QB had suffered a concussion, but the Dolphins reported in the second half that it was a back and ankle injury. Tagovailoa returned to play and helped his team get the win in Week 3. Despite his return and securing the victory, his availability for the next game was deemed questionable. 

Within the four days, Tagovailoa passed concussion protocol and suited up to play that Thursday. This led to the injury that has stirred many questions. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel and the medical staff that cleared Tagovailoa are currently on the hot seat.

During the postgame press conference on Thursday, McDaniel revealed that after getting cleared by medical staff and an independent specialist, Tagovailoa was able to return. As for Tagovailoa’s current injury, McDaniel confirmed he was hospitalized with a concussion, but returned home with the team that night.

Shortly after Tagovailoa’s first injury, the NFL Players Association began their investigation. Mike Jones from The Athletic reported that the NFLPA has fired the neurologist that had cleared Tagovailoa to return in the game against the Bills. The errors that the neurologist made have not been publicly reported.

Public opinion and other NFL players have called out the NFL for its handling of the situation. Time will tell if the NFL will make any radical changes to its current safety protocols or if the neurologist will serve as the scapegoat.

The investigation is still ongoing and will likely be a season-long story. Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered CTE and was played by Will Smith in the 2015 film “Concussion,” has advised the Dolphins QB to call it a career and retire. All eyes will remain on Tagovailoa’s health and his decision to play again.