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I need to be educated, or re-educated, about brain injury, and I’m probably not alone – The Denver Post

I am one of those who needs to be educated, or re-educated, about concussions, brain injuries and traumatic brain injuries. I admit it.

I would have faced Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on Thursday in Cincinnati.

I wouldn’t have played him in the third quarter of the game against Buffalo, not after the way he faltered after hitting his head on the ground late in the second quarter after a hit from linebacker Matt Milano. I was surprised that Tagovailoa returned to the game so quickly.

But if the doctor had cleared him and shown me he was “good,” I would have played him in the fourth quarter of the Bills game.

That’s where I’m at with things. Frankly.

I’m a caveman when it comes to concussions and brain injuries. I probably would have played Tagovailoa against the Bills and the Bengals.

I have to change my way of thinking.

More importantly, apparently, the NFL, the players’ union, unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and many others in the football world need to change their thinking.

Changes are coming, according to a joint statement from the NFL and the players’ union.

As the Dolphins (3-1) prepare to visit the New York Jets (2-2) this week under replacement quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, we may learn what those changes entail and how quickly. they will be promulgated.

That should be the starting point: independent neurotrauma doctors should have the final decision on whether a player returns to a match or dresses at all. Period.

It shouldn’t be the team doctor who makes the final decision, as the policy now states.

Many teams have orthopedists, not neurologists, as team doctors.

Giving an orthopedist the last word on a brain injury makes as much sense as giving a neurologist the last word on a knee injury.

Tagovailoa shouldn’t have played against Buffalo.

Tagovailoa, I was told, informed the doctors that it was his back, not his head, that was the problem.

Either way, the Independent Doctor, or UNC, should have ruled it out.

I know it now.

The UNC which cleared Tagovailoa was later fired. A source said a “number of mistakes” were made in the process allowing Tagovailoa to return to the game against Buffalo.

One wonders if Tagovailoa should have played Thursday in Cincinnati. He probably shouldn’t have been in the field.

Again, I need rehabilitation. I’m probably not alone.

From what I observed from afar from Tagovailoa on Monday (I only saw him briefly in the locker room and saw the video of his media session), he looked convincing.

From what I observed from afar from Tagovailoa on Thursday against the Bengals, before he left the game in the second quarter with a head and neck injury on a sack by Josh Tupou, he looked convincing.

Also, if I was the head coach of the Dolphins and I had been watching Tagovailoa all week, and I wanted to give my team the best chance of winning, which means not having a foggy quarterback , I would have started Tagovailoa.

As it stands, Bridgewater is the Dolphins’ starter for the foreseeable future.

I believe coach Mike McDaniel has Tagovailoa’s best interests at heart.

It struck a lot of people, myself included, that Tagovailoa “just rang the bell” against Buffalo.

You shake yourself, clear your head, and you’re good to go.

Football needs to work on its messaging.

Football needs something along the lines of ‘If you ring your bell, you could have brain damage.’

Many football injuries trigger a weeks-long absence alert – a sprained ankle, a calf injury, a bone bruise, etc. — but “ringing your bell” isn’t on that list.

Football needs to take brain damage more seriously.

I need to take brain damage more seriously.

How does such a shift in attitude manifest in Tagovailoa and his treatment/recovery?

That’s the big question.

Let’s just say if this change in attitude is real, Tagovailoa should be ruled out for at least two games and maybe up to four games.

You won’t allow a player to come back a week after being diagnosed with a pulled hamstring, even if he swore he could play. Returning too soon increases his risk of further injury and decreases his chances of full recovery.

A brain injury should be considered in the same way.

Maybe now it will.

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denverpost

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