By Ken Reed
Tua Tagovailoa is in the NFL’s concussion protocol once again.
He has suffered multiple concussions this year. For his long-term health, he should seriously consider retiring from football.
Human beings can make full recoveries from knee, ankle and shoulder injuries. That isn’t always the case with brain injuries.
Tagovailoa, unconscionably, was allowed to keep playing earlier this year after clearly suffering a concussion against the Buffalo Bills. Moreover, he was allowed to play in the next game, four days later, against the Cincinnati Bengals, a game in which he suffered a serious concussion and was taken off the field on a stretcher.
In reviewing the film from last week’s Miami-Green Bay game, doctors believe Tagovailoa likely suffered his latest concussion when he banged his head against the ground in the second quarter. He finished the game but didn’t appear to be the same person in the second half, a half in which he threw three interceptions. Somehow, Miami and NFL medical personnel apparently didn’t see Tagovailoa’s head slammed to the ground after releasing a pass in the second quarter of the Green Bay game. Or, if they did, they didn’t pull him from the game.
Continuing to play after suffering a concussion is extremely dangerous. People who suffer a second concussion shortly after a first one are at risk for Second Impact Syndrome, which can have devastating consequences, including death.
“If you love your life, if you love your family, you love your kids — if you have kids — it’s time to gallantly walk away,” said. Dr. Bennet Omalu earlier this year after Tagovailoa was taken off the field on a stretcher in the Bengals game. Omalu is the famous neuropathologist who discovered the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is caused by repetitive blows to the brain. “Go find something else to do.” Omalu believes it is likely that Tagovailoa “suffered severe, long-term permanent brain damage” in that Bengals game.
Each time you suffer a concussion, you’re more susceptible to another one. Thus, people who have suffered multiple concussions, especially within a short timeframe, are significantly more prone to suffering another one. The blow to the head doesn’t need to be as severe next time.
Clearly, this won’t be an easy decision for Tagovailoa. He loves football and he’s getting paid handsomely as a starting NFL quarterback. But he also recently became the father of a son, his first child, giving him something else to think about when considering his football future.
Here’s hoping he sits out the final two games of this season (and any possible playoff games the Dolphins might have) and then takes the time needed this offseason to fully reflect on his brain injuries and think about his football future with family, friends and trusted medical personnel.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families. Linda writes extensively about how youth sports can hijack families, and family outings, non-sports activities and bonding time are lost in the pursuit of the next club team game or travel tournament.
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Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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