MIAMI — Miami Dolphins quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater have completed all of the steps toward a possible return to play as required by the NFL, and they have been removed from newly revised concussion protocols .
That’s what a person with knowledge of the rulings said on Saturday. That person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Dolphins executives had not publicly announced those decisions.
Skylar Thompson will be the Dolphins’ starting quarterback on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. However, if Tagovailoa does get the green light, he could be available for the Oct. 22 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tagovailoa returned to training on a limited basis earlier this week. He had been in protocol since suffering an injury Sept. 29 against the Cincinnati Bengals, following which he left the field on a stretcher.
Four days earlier, Tagovailoa was allowed to return to play in a game against the Buffalo Bills after the back of his head hit the ground. As he got up, he appeared staggering. Later, Dolphins executives claimed their quarterback staggered with a back injury.
This decision to allow Tagovailoa back on the field, combined with the scene in Cincinnati days later, led to rapid and significant changes in concussion protocols by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
The most notable addition is that abnormal balance and/or stability would be a symptom prohibiting a player from returning to a game.
These changed policies went into effect last weekend, and Bridgewater was an unwitting participant in them almost immediately. He played just one game last Sunday in a loss to the New York Jets. Although he did not show symptoms of concussion, he was placed in protocols.
Tagovailoa and Bridgewater had to complete a five-step program, as stipulated by the league, to get the green light. Tagovailoa has also met with several independent experts over the past few days.