The NFL Players Association has fired the independent nerve injury consultant who evaluated Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagavailoa after he limped off the field against Buffalo last weekend, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The person who confirmed the firing, which was first reported by Pro Football Talk, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity as a joint review by the NFL and its players’ union into Tagavailoa’s immediate return to Sunday’s game continues. The source also revealed shooting to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.

An NFLPA spokesman, however, did not immediately confirm the firing when reached by CBS News.

“This is an ongoing investigation and we cannot provide any official comment or confirmation,” NFLPA spokesman George Attala said in a brief statement. “When we can provide details, we will be in touch.”

Tua Tagavailoa
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagavailoa is carted off the field during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 29, 2022 at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Each game has three independent neurotrauma consultants (UNCs). They are jointly paid by the league and the players’ union to work with team doctors to diagnose concussions. The NFLPA is exercising its right to stop UNC, which was directly involved in the decision to cut Tagovailoa, who suffered a concussion after a scary hit just four days ago in Cincinnati on Thursday night.

Tagavailoa initially appeared to have concussion symptoms after taking a hit to the head during a home game against Buffalo, but the team doctor and UNC cleared him to return. He and the team later explained that his legs were wobbly due to a back injury.

After hit on Thursday, when 6-foot-3, 340-pound Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou backhanded him to the turf, Tagovailoa’s hands froze and his fingers bent awkwardly in front of his mask for several seconds as he lay on the Cincinnati turf. He lay on the ground for several minutes until he was taken away on a stretcher and sent to the hospital. He was discharged from the hospital and flew home with the team a few hours later.

It is not known if there is a connection between the two injuries. Concussions are common in the NFL, especially when a player is thrown to the ground by a man the size of Tupou and his head hits the turf.

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel defended the team’s handling of the quarterback’s injury against the Bills when he took a hit from linebacker Matt Milan late in the first half and appeared to hit his head on the turf. Tagovailoa stumbled as he got up and was taken to the locker room for evaluation before being brought back into the game early in the third quarter.

McDaniel reiterated Friday that Tagovailoa was cleared by multiple layers of medical personnel during that game and said the QB did not have a head injury, so he was not in the concussion protocol before Thursday’s game.

Many observers questioned why Tagavailoa was allowed to return to the field against the Bills. A joint review by the league and the NFLPA will review the steps taken, and a report will be released.

McDaniel said Friday there is no timetable for Tagovailoa’s return.

Sunday’s incident prompted the NFL and NFLPA to jointly review the extent of his injuries and whether the Dolphins followed proper concussion protocol that day. The results of the joint investigation have not yet been released.

“Ninety-nine times, a full nine percent of the time, that player is taken out of the game without even thinking about it,” Concussion Legacy Foundation CEO Chris Nowinski told “CBS Mornings” co-host Nate Burleson on Friday.

Navinsky, neuropathologist, said the Dolphins put Tagovailoa’s life on the line in danger and could not protect him.

“It’s everybody’s failure,” Nowinski said. “This is a failure of the medical team. This is the failure of the independent medical team on Sunday. This is a failure of the coaching staff. The problem with all these failures is that none of them will be punished. Tua is punished.”

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh called the situation “weird.”

“I couldn’t believe what I saw last night,” Harbaugh told reporters Friday. “I couldn’t believe what I saw last Sunday. It was just amazing and I’ve been coaching for 40 years … I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Tagovailoa released a statement on Twitter Friday night, thanking fans for their support.

“It was tough not finishing the game and being there with my teammates, but I’m grateful for the support and care I received from the Dolphins, my friends and family, and all the people who reached out,” he said. . “I feel much better and focused on recovery so I can get back on the field with my teammates.”