Week 3 – Tua Tagovailoa
At a Glance –
Player: Tua Tagovailoa
Team: Miami Dolphins
Injury: Possible Concussion, head injury
Projected Recovery Time: 2-4 weeks
The Dolphins had an impressive win over the Buffalo Bill on Sunday, but not without controversy. At the end of the first half, the Dolphin’s quarterback, Tua, left the game after suffering an apparent head injury. To the surprise of many, especially after a pretty scary sway from Tua after getting up, Tua returned to finish the game. Because of the severity of the hit, many speculated that Tua had a concussion that was potentially mishandled, and there is now an official investigation into the apparent head injury to determine if Tua was wrongly cleared to return to the game. It is unclear whether Tua will be ready to play on Thursday, when the Dolphins face the Bengals.
Concussions are a difficult injury to treat as people present differently, depending on the severity of the concussion, but Tua will likely be working with a PT regardless of the severity of his injury. The biggest goal of Tua’s physical therapy program will be to re-introduce activities gradually. The concern of Tua being cleared despite having a concussion is completely justified -If someone returns to higher level activities too quickly, a brain bleed can develop from excessive swelling, or a person may develop post-concussive syndrome, in which symptoms last for several months. It is imperative that Tua be sidelined and treated by his healthcare team if he has symptoms. Typical symptoms include headaches, dizziness, and “feeling foggy”, and early interventions in Tua’s PT program will help him improve his tolerance to moving his head,standing, and performing daily activities. Tua will also work on strengthening key muscle groups in the neck, as well as addressing vestibular impairments, which are very common with concussions. Vestibular (or inner ear) problems interfere with balance and coordination, and PTs have a variety of exercises to help Tua improve his stability. As he progresses, the exercises will become more difficult to ensure he can tolerate the demands of professional football. There is even a formal treadmill program that measures heart rate and symptoms that Tua will likely participate in to make sure he can return to football safely. His PTs will know the signs of a poor response to exercise to make sure he isn’t doing too much, and hopefully in the next 2-4 weeks, he will be able to make a full recovery and return to football when appropriate.
Take a look at this video to see the 3DPT team demonstrating some of the exercises that Tua may see in early, mid and late-stages of his rehab
Early Phase: 3 gaze stabilization exercises while standing on foam:
- Pencil pushups
Mid-Phase: Tennis ball reaction drill on terracore
Late Phase / Return to sport: box agility with blaze pods