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NFLPA wants an investigation of the decision to allow Tua Tagovailoa to return

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Mike Florio and Chris Simms preview the AFC East Week 3 showdown between the Buffalo Bulls and Miami Dolphins, who could be in line to pull off a big upset early in the season.

The Dolphins scored a major upset on Sunday, with the assistance of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The NFL Players Association wants to know whether Tua should have been kept out of the game.

PFT has confirmed that the union has exercised its right to initiate an investigation of the decision to allow Tagovailoa to return.

Tagovailoa struck his head against the turf in the first half, after being shoved to the ground. He wobbled after he got to his feet. The training staff took him straight to the locker room.

Somewhat surprisingly, he returned after halftime.

The NFL provided the following explanation to PFT during the game.

“I can confirm that the concussion protocol was followed, including a locker room exam,” NFL spokesperson Megan Grant said via email. “These decisions, as you know, are made by a team physician and an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant.”

The concussion protocol provides that, "[i]f the team physician, in consultation with the sideline UNC, determines the instability to be neurologically caused, the player is designated a ‘No-Go’ and may not return to play.”

In this case, it was obviously determined that the instability was not caused by head trauma. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media tweeted during the game, and Tua himself afterward, blamed the instability on a back injury that had not been previously disclosed by the team.

Here’s the real question. How do the doctors determine that the instability was caused by something other than a concussion? The player, who wants to keep playing, will be inclined to attribute anything like that to anything other than a head injury. Surely, the process requires something more than that.

We’ve asked the league that question. We have not yet gotten a response.