The NFL and NFL Players Association will conduct a joint review into the decision the Miami Dolphins made to allow quarterback Tua Tagovailoa back into Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, according to multiple reports.
Tagovailoa left the game toward the end of the second quarter. He was knocked on his back and appeared to be woozy when he got up. He was first diagnosed with a head injury and was questionable to return.
But Tagovailoa told reporters he was dealing with a back injury. NFL Network reported Tagovailoa went through a “full concussion check” and cleared it.
“I kind of got my legs caught under someone, and they were trying to push back, and it kind of felt like I hyperextended my back or something,” Tagovailoa said. “Then on the next play, I kind of hit my back, it kind of hurt, and I got up, and that’s why I stumbled — my back kind of locked up on me.”
In-game evaluations when concussions are suspected involve team medical personnel as well as an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant.
“I was kind of with everyone else. When he hit his head on the ground, I assumed it was a head injury,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. “But his legs got wobbly because his lower back was completely loose. And as he described it, he said his lower back was like Gumby or something.”
Tagovailoa said he “passed whatever concussion protocol they had.”
He returned to the game in the second half and led the Dolphins to a victory over the Bills, 21-19.
Tagovailoa finished the game with 186 yards on 13-of-18 passing with a touchdown and no interceptions thrown.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.