The Tua Tagovailoa effect? At least a dozen players benched Sunday under NFL concussion protocols

Next to a storm of criticism over health and safety directed against the NFL for its management of Miami Dolphins strategist Tua Tagovailoa last week, at least 12 players were pulled from Sunday games under the league’s concussion protocols.

Neurological assessments took place in eight of Sunday’s 14 games and appeared to suggest a cautious increase in stress from the previous week’s numbers. During the league’s Week 3 roster, only three players appeared to have been benched after completing concussion protocols. This group did not include Tagovailoa, who hit his head while facing the Buffalo Tickets then stumbled to the ground as he tried to walk towards the group, raising concerns that he had suffered a concussion. Tagovailoa underwent a neurological evaluation at halftime of that match and was eventually cleared to return to the pitch. This decision led the NFL Players Association to immediately call for an investigation into whether proper concussion protocols had been followed.

Four days later, in Thursday’s prime-time league game, Tagovailoa suffered a concussion against the Cincinnati Bengals and had to be taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Following this incident and following pressing questions about what happened during the game against Buffalo, the NFLPA exercised its right to fire the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who examined Tagovailoa and allowed him to continue playing against the Bills. This too prompted the NFL and NFLPA to open discussions about revamping the league’s concussion protocolswith a focus on removing players who exhibit motor instability during play. The NFL and NFLPA announced potential “modifications” to concussion protocols on Saturday, leaving open the possibility that changes could be instituted from week 5.

The announcement also set the stage for Sunday, when officials and teams were expected to monitor players more closely and act quickly to remove them from the field if concussion protocols are deemed to be were justified. This resulted in a series of reports and reviews that affected two quarterbacks, two star linebackers and a handful of other key players in games.

Among them:

That’s a solid number of players knocked out just three days from Tagovailoa’s concussion and could hint at the direction the revamped protocols will go when the NFL and NFLPA finalize the changes.