CINCINNATI (KDKA/AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa sustained neck and head injuries after being slammed to the ground in Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals and was stretchered from the field.
The Dolphins said Tagovailoa was conscious, had movement in all his extremities and was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for further evaluation.
Tagovailoa was chased down and sacked by 6-foot-3, 340-pound Josh Tupou with about six minutes left in the first half. He was spun around and thrown to the turf. While on the ground, his hands froze in front of his face. He remained down for more than seven minutes before being loaded on a backboard, stabilized and strapped to a stretcher after his facemask was removed.
Dolphins players gathered around as Tagovailoa was rolled off the field and the crowd chanted "Tua! Tua!."
Reactions came swiftly from around the NFL, including former Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who said he is praying for Tagovailoa.
"May god be with you and hopefully okay," Shazier tweeted. "The staff in UC hospital do a great job with care. Your in great hands."
Shazier retired in 2020 after suffering a spinal cord injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4, 2017. He underwent spinal stabilization surgery two days later and has since learned to walk again.
Tagovailoa was suffering from a sore back and was listed as questionable for most of the week ahead of the game.
Tagovailoa briefly left Sunday's 21-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills after appearing to be disoriented by what the team originally said was a head injury after taking a hard hit from Bills linebacker Matt Milano late in the first half. He missed just three snaps and returned after halftime, a decision that prompted a joint review by the NFL and National Football League Players Association of what went into the decision to allow him to return to the game.
The team and Tagovailoa said after the game the quarterback had a back injury that caused his awkward stumble and fall after he was slammed into the turf in the second quarter. The team said Monday that Tagovailoa was not in concussion protocol.
He said he "hyper-extended" his back after getting his legs caught under someone on a quarterback sneak.
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