Baystate doctor discusses symptoms, effects of concussions after Tagovailoa injury

Baystate doctor discusses symptoms, effects of concussions after Tagovailoa injury
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 3:51 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Many people are talking about the football injury Thursday night when Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took a hit to the head. The incident is sending shockwaves through the NFL.

The images are alarming as Tagovailoa endured a dramatic hit during Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Upon hitting the ground, his fingers were seen stretched in a gesture called a “fencing response” which doctors said is likely a sign of brain injury.

Dr. Julio Martinez-Silvestrini is the medical director at Baystate Rehabilitation Center. He told Western Mass News this response is normal in babies and is eventually outgrown, but can be set off by something such as a traumatic injury.

Miami Dolphins quaterback Tua Tagovailoa is seen on the field after suffering an injury on...
Miami Dolphins quaterback Tua Tagovailoa is seen on the field after suffering an injury on September 29, 2022.(MGN Online / CBS Mornings / YouTube)

“It’s a very serious sign that requires immediate medical attention,” Martinez-Silvestrini explained.

He told us all brain injuries should be taken seriously and playing through these injuries can have long-lasting effects, such as chronic headaches, depression or learning disabilities. Martinez-Silvestrini said concussions and other brain injuries are more common and often more serious in people who have already had them before.

As for Tagovailoa, this was the quarterback’s second hit in two games. While he passed a concussion test after Sunday’s game, many believe he should not have been on the field four days later. Martinez-Silvestrini said safety protocols should always be followed.

Miami Dolphins quaterback Tua Tagovailoa is seen on the field after suffering an injury on...
Miami Dolphins quaterback Tua Tagovailoa is seen on the field after suffering an injury on September 29, 2022.(MGN Online / CBS Mornings / YouTube)

“Any athlete that has a suspicion of concussion, they should not return back to play sports the same day. They should sit out, be evaluated by a physician, and certified that they did not have a concussion…If someone has a suspicion of a concussion, even just a suspicion, the safer thing to do is to sit out because the reality is you only have one brain, you don’t have spare parts,” Martinez-Silvestrini noted.

He said all head injuries should be taken very seriously.

“If you are concerned that you may have had a concussion or you are concerned that one of you teammates may have had a concussion, speak up,” Martinez-Silvestrini added.

Miami Dolphins quaterback Tua Tagovailoa is seen being taken off the field via a stretcher...
Miami Dolphins quaterback Tua Tagovailoa is seen being taken off the field via a stretcher after suffering an injury on September 29, 2022.(MGN Online / CBS Mornings / YouTube)

In 2010, Massachusetts passed a law that prevents student-athletes with confirmed or even suspected concussions from playing sports until they are cleared by a medical professional.

As for Tagovailoa, the NFL’s concussion protocols are being followed and it is uncertain, at this moment, when he will return to the field.