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Alabama football die-hard Justin Thomas tweeted a heartfelt response to Tua Tagovailoa after Thursday night's horrific injury

September 30, 2022

On Thursday night, in primetime, during the second game of the NFL’s shiny new partnership with Amazon, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was whipped to the turf by the Bengals' Josh Tupou. Tagvailoa’s head snapped back, striking the ground with sickening force as the cameras zoomed in on his unconscious body, hands contorted in a “fencing response” usually reserved for the most violent MMA knockouts. Tagovailoa was stretchered off the field and transported to a local hospital, where he was evaluated for head and neck injuries. Much to the relief of football fans everywhere, it was soon announced that Tagovailoa was conscious and had full movement in his extremities. He was discharged from the hospital in time to travel back with the team to Miami.

Nonetheless, the injury was so horrifying—especially in its proximity to an apparent head injury Tagovailoa suffered on Sunday following a cheap shot by the Buffalo Bills’ Matt Milano—that its shockwave continued to echo around the sports world on Friday morning. Those reverberations eventually reached Alabama football die-hard Justin Thomas, who tweeted this heartfelt response to the Crimson Tide’s former Heisman winning quarterback.

While concussions and their various long-term effects are not an issue in professional golf, the “bigger picture” is something that all athletes can relate to. What quality of life do our sports superstars really enjoy when the years of operating at their physical and mental limits finally run out? It’s a massive question without a clear answer, and Tagovailoa’s injury on Thursday thrust it into the spotlight once more, with many medical professionals (and countless more non-medical professionals who know next to nothing about neurological injury) questioning why Tua was out there at all following his incident on Sunday.

The pitchfork and torches came out, with many are calling for jobs to be lost, even before the full facts of the situation are clear (an NFLPA investigation into the protocol surrounding Tua’s return on Sunday is ongoing). Thankfully Thomas, perhaps honed by months of addressing the LIV Golf controversy, took a more diplomatic approach. His thoughts on Friday were with the health and safety of Tua Tagovailoa and the health and safety of all his peers, whether on the PGA Tour or in leagues beyond.

If a systemic failure jeopardized those core tenants, the system and its enforcers need to answer for that, but right now we simply don’t know. We don’t know who, we don’t know what, and we don’t know when. So take a page out of JT’s yardage book. Inhale. Exhale. Go for a walk. Don’t think about sports for a little while. It’ll be tough, but you can do it. In the meantime, here’s hoping Tua makes a full and speedy recovery. We’re pulling for you, kid.