NFL: Alex Smith was luckier than Tua Tagovailoa

NFL: Alex Smith was luckier than Tua Tagovailoa


Retired quarterback Alex Smith understands very well how Miami Dolphins center Tua Tagovailoa may be feeling right now. He too had to deal with concussion protocol in 2016 after two incidents during the same game, but he was much luckier.

When he wore the Kansas City Chiefs uniform, Smith had a pretty tough physical game against the Indianapolis Colts on October 30, 2016. Like Tagovailoa on September 25, he had to retreat to the locker room twice to be evaluated by experts.

In an interview with ESPN's daily podcast on Monday, the 38-year-old went into detail about the day his head hit the grass surface two occasions. He came out for the first time in the first quarter, where he was expected in the locker room by a trainer and a neurologist.

“At first, [the neurologist] asks you all kinds of questions. He will give you a few words, words he will ask you for, and then he will try to distract you. He asks geography questions, simple math questions, several things,” he said.

“He's giving you a kind of sobriety test. He asks you to do a basic agility test, to balance on one foot. At the end of the 10 to 15 minutes, he comes back with the words from the beginning of the test. If you're doing okay the whole thing, you're not on protocol if he doesn't think you have a concussion.”

Smith passed the exam twice. He was sent back to the game after his first scare, but on the second, head coach Andy Reid did not reinsert him into the fray, instead handing the offense over to Nick Foles.

< strong>In hindsight

The retiree touted Chiefs' work at the time because even though he hadn't been diagnosed with a concussion, his team did the right thing by keeping him on the sidelines from the third quarter. His name was added to the concussion protocol and he did not play the following week. It was the prudent choice, as Smith later admitted to losing consciousness after one of the blows, which he received each time while attempting a slide with the ball.

This is the main difference with the history of Tagovailoa. The young Dolphins quarterback played four days after his obvious concussion symptoms and the worst happened against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Of course, Smith said he was frustrated by Reid's decision , since every player wants to be on the pitch and they didn't feel any symptoms. The old roader, for his part, was disappointed not to have removed his quarterback more quickly from the game.

“I am grateful to him for that, to him and to all the healers and doctors who took excellent decisions”, mentioned the American, who has not been the victim of such incidents for the rest of his career.