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Tua Tagovailoa suffers fresh concussion setback as NFL star learns Pro Bowl fate

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Miami Dolphins star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been ruled out of the upcoming Pro Bowl as he is still navigating the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Tagovailoa entered the concussion protocol once more after falling 26-20 to the Green Bay Packers on Christmas Day. After appearing to bounce his head off the turf in the second half, Tagovailoa threw three interceptions in the loss to Green Bay and many NFL fans and figures are concerned for his health going forwards, with some even calling for him to retire.

Back in September, Tagovailoa was hospitalised due to a second head injury in successive games. In Week Four, he suffered a concussion against the Cincinnati Bengals just days after taking a scary hit against the Buffalo Bills.

His head bounced off the turf in similar fashion to the Packers incident, but the former Alabama star was medically cleared the next week to play against the Bengals and ended up in hospital. Shortly afterwards, the NFL and NFLPA announced the implementation of a new rule while several world-renowned neuroscientists warned against the dangers of concussions in quick succession.

When he was on the field, Tagovailoa enjoyed a stellar 2022 season in which he appeared to silence pre-season critics who questioned his ability as he led the NFL in passer rating. He was named as an AFC first alternate but I’m told it’s been a deliberate progression through protocol.

However, Tagovailoa – who was set to replace either Joe Burrow or Patrick Mahomes in Las Vegas as the Cincinnati Bengals or Kansas City Chiefs will represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVII – has now been ruled out of next week’s event, according to ESPN. He remains in concussion protocol, although this is deliberate as he continues to meet with multiple doctors and specialists.

Tua Tagovailoa suffered multiple concussions throughout the 2022 season
Paul Sancya/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

There have been no setbacks in his recovery as the Dolphins aim to prioritise his long-term health after the third-year quarterback set career highs in passing yards and touchdowns. Tagovailoa was also the top vote-getter in Pro Bowl fan voting.

Earlier this month, Miami general manager Chris Grier said the team are heading into the 2023 season planning for Tagovailoa to start. The franchise do not believe his concussions will make him more vulnerable to head injuries moving forwards.

Tagovailoa’s parents also confirmed the quarterback will not retire and he intends to play the 2023 campaign. The Dolphins have a May 1 deadline to exercise the fifth-year option on Tagovailoa’s rookie contract after he was selected with the fifth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

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