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Fall risk? Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa hoping judo prevents concussions

Sep 29, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou (68) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) in the second quarter at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Tagovailoa sustained a head injury on the play and left the game for treatment. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa turned to martial arts as part of an offseason plan he believes will protect him from future concussions.

Tagovailoa said in an interview on “Up and Adams” on FanDuel TV that becoming a dad brought perspective to his health situation and life in general.

In an eventful 10 days to start the month of February, Tagovailoa was cleared from concussion protocol stemming from a head injury on Christmas Day against the Green Bay Packers, changed agents and learned the value of his fifth-year option ( $23.2 million) with the Dolphins.

Miami has until May 1, one week after the 2023 NFL Draft, to exercise the option for 2024.

Tagovailoa said he looks at his career differently as a father, but seeing things through a “different lens” won’t mean pulling back after three head injuries in 2022.

“It definitely makes me want to do things to help myself by hopefully not being in those positions next year,” he said. “We’ve got a plan set up. I’ll be doing judo on Fridays just so I can figure out like, understanding my body and learning how to fall. Just trying to help myself.”

Head coach Mike McDaniel said he views Tagovailoa as the franchise quarterback of the Dolphins.

But the Dolphins took the field for the playoffs in January without him and were in a similar position from Sept. 30 to Oct. 22 following a scary on-field scene at Cincinnati that led to the revision of the NFL’s concussion protocol and treatment policy.

Playing on a Thursday night against the Bengals four days after an apparent concussion in a Sunday game, Tagovailoa said he was knocked unconscious, unaware he’d hit the ground falling backward, head-to-turf.

The league conducted another joint review with the NFLPA after the Dolphins-Packers game and revealed the concussion protocol was never triggered because there were no signs of head injury. McDaniel recommended Tagovailoa be examined the day after the game when the quarterback couldn’t recall certain plays and sequences from the day before.

Tagovailoa turns 25 on March 2, and came into the 2020 NFL Draft with questions about durability because of hip and ankle surgeries during his three seasons at Alabama.

In 2022, his first season with McDaniel, Tagovailoa posted career bests in nearly every category and was 8-5 as a starter. He had 3,548 passing yards, averaged 13.7 yards per completion with 25 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a passer rating of 105.5.

–Field Level Media

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