In recent years the NFL has been working to keep its players safer when it comes to head injuries.  And while strives have been made, events over the past couple of weeks have proven that there is still much to do.

During the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins in a national television broadcast, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was seen stumbling after a hard hit.

Tagovailoa returned to the game saying that the stumble was due to a back injury.

However, during the game Thursday night with the Cincinnati Bengals, Tagovailoa took a very hard hit to the field after a tack by 340 pound tackle Josh Tupou that left Tagovailoa motionless on the field with his hands frozen in the air.  After several minutes, Tagovailoa was secured on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

The Dolphins have noted that there is no timetable for Tagovailoa’s return.

In the wake of those events; citing several mistakes, the NFL Players Association exercised their right to terminate the UNC – Unaffiliated Neurological Consultant  – a neurologist that is not associated with either team.  Each game has three UNC’s on hand to attend to any player injured during a game.  Any player that is suspected of having a concussion is evaluated by the UNC with a series of protocols to determine whether or not he is medically able to return to the game.

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel defended the actions during the game and letting Tagovailoa return to the game.  McDaniel noted that Tagovailoa had been cleared by “several layers of medical professionals”; adding that his QB did not have a head injury. 

McDaniel said, “I have 100 percent conviction in our process regarding our players.  This is a player-friendly organization, and I make it very clear from the onset that my job here is for the players. I take that very seriously. No one in the building strays from that. … If there would have been anything lingering with his head, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I prematurely put someone out there and put them in harm’s way.  This is a relationship that I have with this human being. I take that serious. I wouldn’t have put him out there if there was any inclination given to me whatsoever that he was endangering himself from that previous game.”

On Friday following the injury, Tagovailoa sent out a tweet saying he was “feeling much better” and thanked everyone for their support.