By Homero De la Fuente, CNN
The National Football League Players Association has terminated the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who was involved in the evaluation of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for a concussion during their game against the Buffalo Bills last Sunday, according to multiple reports, including from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, citing unnamed sources.
The unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant was terminated after it was found they made “several mistakes” in their evaluation, according to ESPN, citing an unnamed source.
CNN has reached out to the NFLPA but did not immediately receive a response.
The National Football League and the NFLPA released a joint statement on Saturday, saying that while the investigation into the handling of Tagovalioa’s concussion protocols remain ongoing, both sides have agreed that updates to the protocols are required.
The NFL and NFLPA said they “anticipate changes to the protocol being made in the coming days based on what has been learned thus far in the review process.”
On Sunday, the NFLPA told the league it would initiate a review into the handling of Tagovailoa’s apparent head injury. The NFL later confirmed to CNN that a joint investigation would take place.
In the Dolphins’ 21-19 win over the Buffalo Bills, Tagovailoa was knocked out of the game briefly in the second quarter after a hit by Bills linebacker Matt Milano forced the back of his helmet to hit the turf. The 24-year-old third-year quarterback got up stumbling and was taken to the locker room for a concussion check. Milano was flagged for a roughing the passer penalty.
The Dolphins initially announced Tagovailoa was questionable to return to the game with a head injury but came back out onto the field in the third quarter and finished the game throwing for 186 yards and a touchdown.
Tagovailoa told reporters after the game that he fell onto his back before his head hit the turf causing his back to lock up and the stumbling. He added that he was evaluated for a concussion but was ultimately cleared.
“The adrenaline kept me going,” Tagovailoa added.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel alluded to a back injury after the game, saying that Tagovailoa back got “bent” on an earlier play but the hit “loosened his back” causing his legs to get wobbly. McDaniel added that Tagovailoa told him that his back was like “Gumby.”
The NFL and Dolphins are under scrutiny for the decision to allow Tagovailoa to play another game on Thursday.
Tagovailoa was sacked by Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Josh Tupou in the second quarter of that game and lay motionless on the field for several minutes. The entire Dolphins sideline walked onto the field as he was placed on a backboard and stretcher before being taken to the hospital. Bengals fans in attendance at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati showed their respect as Tagovailoa was carted off the field.
In a statement Thursday night, the NFLPA said player health and safety were at the “core” of their mission.
“Our concern tonight is for Tua and we hope for a full and speedy recovery,” it said. “Our investigation into the potential protocol violation is ongoing.”
McDaniel told reporters on Friday that Tagovailoa was in concussion protocol after Thursday’s but gave no timetable for his return to the field.
Video showed Tagovailoa’s forearms were flexed and his fingers contorted — a sign that CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon, said is a “fencing response” and can be linked to a brain injury.
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