During the 2022 NFL season, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered through two confirmed concussions. With this being said, saying goodbye to his professional football career wasn’t off the table.
On Wednesday, the 25-year-old athlete held a press conference in which he openly discussed the thoughts that went through his head last year. When asked if he considered retiring, he did not hesitate to admit the truth. “Yeah, I think I considered it, you know, for a time, having sat down with my family, having sat down with my wife, and having those kinds of conversations,” he revealed.
Although he considered hanging up the jersey, Tagovailoa explained that he felt too young to step away for good. “Really, it would be hard for me to walk away from this game with how old I am, with my son. I always dreamed of growing — playing as long as I could to where my son knew exactly what he was watching his dad do,” he shared.
“I feel like this is what’s best for me and my family,” the quarterback added. “I love the game of football. If I didn’t I would have quite a long time [ago].”
Despite Tagovailoa’s confidence in returning to the game, many are concerned about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a condition that deteriorates the brain’s ability to function. Following autopsies performed on professional football players, doctors are rapidly discovering a rise in CTE.
However, the quarterback believes his position on the field will prevent him from serious CTE-like symptoms. Since he is not “constantly” hitting his head, like linebackers and linemen, Tagovailoa believes he will be able to prevent long-term issues.
Tua Tagovailoa discusses jiu-jitsu and learning to fall
While there aren’t many precautions athletes can take besides proper safety equipment, the Miami Dolphins player shared he’s experimenting with jiu-jitsu training to minimize possible head trauma.
“Obviously learned how to fall,” he relayed, detailing the ways in which martial arts training has aided him. “Learned some grappling techniques. Learned some other things too that I don’t think I should disclose. But for the most part, learned how to fall. You think it’s easy. Just don’t fall and hit your head. But a lot more to it.”
“I think just like anything else, you continue to train it, you continue to work it that it becomes second nature,” Tagovailoa continued. “With jiu-jitsu, I’ve been thrown airborne, I’ve been put in many uncomfortable positions for me to learn how to fall and try to react throughout those positions that I’m getting thrown around in.”
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