The Dolphins quarterback revealed he was knocked “unconscious” on the terrifying play, which led to him being stretchered off the field and transported to a nearby hospital in an ambulance.
“I wouldn’t say it was scary for me at the time because there was a point where I was unconscious, so I couldn’t really tell what was going on,” Tagovailoa told reporters. “When I did come to and kind of realize what was going on and what was happening, I didn’t think of anything long term or short term. I was just wondering what happened.”
The scene on Sept. 29 was ugly, especially since there had been some question as to whether Tagovailoa sustained a concussion one week prior against the Buffalo Bills. Tagovailoa slammed his head off the ground while trying to extend a play in Cincinnati, and it was clear the blow knocked him out cold, with the 24-year-old’s fingers even stiffening as he attempted to lift his hands.
“After I got tackled, I don’t remember much from there,” Tagovailoa said. “Getting carted off, I don’t remember that. But I do remember things that were going on when I was in the ambulance and then when I arrived at the hospital.”
Tagovailoa ultimately was discharged from the hospital that night and flew home with his Dolphins teammates, two developments he remembers despite losing consciousness on the play itself. The NFL and NFL Players Association called for modifications to the league’s concussion protocol in wake of the incident, though, and the independent doctor who cleared Tagovailoa during Miami’s Week 3 game against Buffalo was fired.
All told, Tagovailoa, who cleared the concussion protocol Saturday but didn’t play in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings, acknowledged Wednesday it’s been a “pretty stressful” few weeks. The QB is expected to start Sunday night in Week 7 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.