Wednesday, March 29, 2023
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Tennessee Players Weigh in on Tua Injury

What was supposed to be a matchup between two former SEC QBs turned ugly on Thursday night as Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagavailoa was slammed into the ground by Josh Tupou, a 6-foot-3, 340-pound defensive tackle on the Cincinnati Bengals. After the hit, Tua showed signs of posturing, also known as the “fencing response”, which indicates neurological trauma. The best outcome of this situation is a concussion; the worst is severe neurological damage. After Amazon Prime’s relentless broadcasting of Tua’s injury Thursday night and witnessing the aftereffects of the hit he took against the Bills just four days before, social media came for blood. Users across Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms took issue with the streaming service, the Dolphins, and the NFL. 

Sports fans targeted their complaints at Amazon Prime’s disrespectful coverage of the injury. In fact, one of the most notable players in the NFL voiced his opinion over the distasteful amount of airtime that the play and the injury received. 

As horrific as this injury would’ve been to a healthy player, it’s even worse to one that wasn’t. Many people do not believe that Tua should’ve been in the game at all. The “back injury” that he sustained against the Bills the previous Sunday displayed many of the same characteristics that come along with a concussion, and many feel that he was misdiagnosed, mistreated, and put in danger of sustaining life-changing damage past the game of football. Because of his body’s reaction to the hit he received on Thursday night, it looks like the majority were right. 

So, who is to blame for this oversight? Tennessee’s own Cooper Mays gives his opinion on who should be held accountable and what players should expect when it comes to care. 

You’ve got to put it on the medical professionals. I guess the NFL is a different ballgame because they are grown men and playing for their own money and everything. But especially when you look at kids in college, it’s the medical professional’s job to protect them from themselves because a kid that’s 18 years old and coming out of high school, all they know is playing hard and playing through whatever. If they’ve got the right make-up for football, they’re going to want to play through whatever. They are going to want to play no matter what, as long as they’re allowed to play. It’s for the best interests of the player for someone to step in and tell them that they need to stop.”

Unfortunately, we didn’t have some of the medical information that we have now and players in the past paid the price. There hasn’t always been the desire to put the health of the players as top priority. Thankfully for the Vols, they have medical personnel that puts the well-being of those suited up in orange and white over everything else. According to Tennessee TE Jacob Warren, the Vols are very well taken care of. 

“I’m happy that I can trust the people we have in our office to do the right things and protect me and look out for our best interests.”

As for Tua, Warren simply stated, “All I know is that I hope he is physically alright and finds the treatment and care he needs.” The proper treatment and care are the least that Tua should expect considering the giant light shined on concussion protocol in professional football by this unfortunate situation.  The blame lies in the laps of many within the NFL, including those in the Miami Dolphins organization. Finding a scapegoat for the situation by firing the doctor isn’t going to work this time. Accountability needs to be taken by those that put this QB in harm’s way. 

As Cooper Mays put it, “You’ve only got one body and it’s a lot more fragile than you think, especially your brain. Your health takes precedent over anything, or it should.”

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