Famed neuropathologist Bennet Omalu says Tua Tagovailoa should retire from NFL

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Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

Famous neuropathologist Bennet Omalu believes that Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa should retire from the NFL after suffering a concussion against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4.

Tagovailoa, who had to be stretchered off the field on Thursday, also got injured in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills.

Omalu became known for his findings on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has been found in several NFL players. CTE occurs from constant trauma and hits to the head. The movie “Concussion,” which starred Will Smith, is based on Omalu and his findings.

“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,” Omalu said in a message to Tagovailoa. “Go find something else to do.”

After watching Tagovailoa take the hit and suffer the head injury against the Bengals, Omalu believes that the Dolphins quarterback “suffered severe, long-term permanent brain damage.”

Following the game, Tagovailoa traveled back with the team and was reported to be smiling and talking outside of the team’s locker room. However, given the nature of Tagovailoa’s injury, Omalu is pleading with the Dolphins quarterback to stop playing football.

“Tua, my brother, I love you,” Omalu said. “I love you as much as I love my son. Stop playing, stop. Hang your helmet and gallantly walk away.”

Tagovailoa, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, was playing the best football of his NFL career prior to suffering the concussion in Week 4. The third-year quarterback has put up impressive numbers, completing 69.6 percent of his passes for 1,035 yards and eight touchdowns in the 2022 season. 

Omalu believes that the amount of money Tagovailoa could make playing football isn’t worth the long-term effects it could have on his brain.

“He should stop,” Omalu said. “Sometimes money is not more valuable than human life. $20 billion is not worth more than your brain.”

The Dolphins won’t play Tagovailoa in Week 5, as backup Teddy Bridgewater will start.

Miami certainly needs to protect its franchise quarterback, and it will be interesting to see how Tagovailoa proceeds this season, especially since an expert like Omalu thinks that returning to football is such a bad decision.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.