Dr. Bennet Omalu, the famous neuropathologist who inspired the 2015 film "Concussion," believes Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa should never take another hit and retire from the NFL.
Tagovailoa’s head injury has been the talk of the league after he was stretchered off the field last Thursday while playing against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was diagnosed with a head injury and entered concussion protocol, while the Dolphins have already ruled him out for Week 5 against the New York Jets.
But controversy has stirred involving what looked to be an apparent concussion previously sustained in Miami's Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills. Tagovailoa came up stumbling in the first half and two offensive linemen had to hold him up, but he returned in the second half to finish the game.
Tagovailoa’s incident against the Bengals came four days later.
Omalu told TMZ Sports that Tagovailoa needs to sit down and truly think about his future.
"If you love your life, if you love your family, you love your kids — if you have kids — it’s time to gallantly walk away," he said. "Go find something else to do."
Omalu was the first to discover CTE, better known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a progressive brain condition that’s thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and episodes of concussion.
Watching the play, Omalu said he believed Tagovailoa "suffered severe, long-term permanent brain damage" when his head smacked the turf on a sack by Bengals defensive tackle Josh Tupou.
"Tua, my brother. I love you. I love you as much as I love my son," Omalu said. "Stop playing. Stop. Hang your helmet and gallantly walk away.
"Sometimes money is not more valuable than human life. Twenty billion dollars is not worth more than your brain."
Tagovailoa was released from the hospital and flew back with his team on Thursday night. He noted that he felt much better just a day after sustaining the injury.
The Dolphins will be going into their game against the Jets with Teddy Bridgewater, Tagovailoa’s backup, as their starter.