The NFLPA is asking the NFL to implement changes to its concussion protocol before Sunday’s games

On Friday, the NFL Players Association released a statement regarding the league’s concussion protocol. The union is seeking to change the protocol and is asking the NFL to implement those changes before this weekend’s games.

“Our union has agreed to change concussion protocols to protect players from returning to the game in the event of an incident similar to the one we saw on September 25,” the NFLPA Board of Directors and Executive Committee said in a statement Friday. “We would like these changes to take effect before this weekend’s games to immediately protect players, and we hope the NFL will accept the changes before then.”

The announcement comes after a review of how Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion evaluation was handled in a Week 3 win against the Bills.

The Sept. 25 incident they’re referring to is when Tua Tagovailoa appeared to suffer a head injury after being pushed to the ground against the Buffalo Bills. He was unsteady when he got up and left the field to be evaluated for a concussion. He was initially reported to have a head injury, but after the game Tagovailoa and the Dolphins said he had a back injury that caused him to walk unsteadily.

Fans, players, media and others around the NFL were concerned that the situation was mishandled because of how Tagovailoa appeared to be getting up and an investigation into the situation was conducted.

“As we have discussed with the NFLPA, we agree that changes to the NFL-NFLPA joint protocols are necessary to further enhance player safety,” the NFL said in a statement. “We have already spoken with members of the NFL’s head, The Neck and Spine Committee and the leadership of the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultants and Independent Certified Athletic Trainers who serve as observers to discuss these potential changes.”

A few days later, when Tagovailoa played Thursday night against the Bengals, he suffered injuries to his head and neck and as a result he was carried away on a stretcher which raised even more concerns about how his condition was handled. Tagovailoa is currently in concussion protocol and has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Jets.

Last weekend, the NFLPA exercised its right to terminate the noncooperative Neuroinjury Consultant who was involved in handling Tagovailoa’s injury against the Bills. Hours later, the NFL and NFLPA issued a joint statement saying the league’s concussion protocol would change following the controversy surrounding the handling of Tagovailoa’s injuries.

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