Tua Tagovailoa lays out extreme steps he's taken to stay healthy this season

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Tua Tagovailoa is looking to lead the Miami Dolphins to the playoffs out of a competitive AFC East (Image: Getty Images)
Tua Tagovailoa is looking to lead the Miami Dolphins to the playoffs out of a competitive AFC East (Image: Getty Images)

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has revealed the methods he has undertaken to protect himself as he eyes a healthy 2023 NFL season.

Last season, Tagovailoa enjoyed the best year of his young career to lead the NFL in passer rating (105.5). In doing so, he became the first Dolphins quarterback to achieve such a feat since franchise icon Dan Marino back in 1984.

However, Tagovailoa’s health is a major question mark after he suffered multiple concussions in 2022 to spark debates regarding the longevity of his NFL career. The Dolphins possess an exciting and talented roster after making moves over the offseason, but the AFC East franchise’s championship hopes ultimately hinge on the health of their quarterback.

If Tagovailoa - the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft - is available all year, the Dolphins offensive firepower in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle could overwhelm defences. The 25-year-old revealed he has worked all offseason to get himself ready for the new season, taking up jiu-jitsu while and also hitting the gym in order to take the hits from defensive linemen.

“Just a lot of heavier weights, a lot more reps with the heavier weights,” Tagovailoa said. “Everything I did this offseason entailed to what would keep me on the field for the entirety of the season. We understand that freaky things can happen.

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“It’s football, it’s a physical sport, not everything you prepare for is what you can get. But I did the best I could to get myself ready and prep for this season as far as injuries go.”

Tagovailoa also believes a new helmet design could better protect him when the back of his head hits the turf after being tackled. He added: “If you look at last year, it wasn’t anyone hitting my head, it was really just the ground.”

Tua Tagovailoa lays out extreme steps he's taken to stay healthy this seasonTua Tagovailoa enjoyed an impressive 2022 season but struggled to stay healthy (AP)

Back in September, the 25-year-old was hospitalised due to a second head injury in as many games. Just days after taking a scary hit to the head against the Buffalo Bills, the deeply concerning moment came when the former Alabama star suffered a concussion against the Cincinnati Bengals.

As he lay on the pitch against the Bengals, Tagovailoa’s fingers displayed the ‘fencing response’ which usually signifies a serious neurological issue. Tagovailoa entered the concussion protocol once more after falling 26-20 to the Green Bay Packers on Christmas Day as he appeared to bounce his head off the turf in the second half. He subsequently threw three interceptions in the loss and didn’t return to the field for the rest of the season.

Ultimately, Tagovailoa’s confidence is refreshing after he endured a difficult season last time out, while his health and availability is ultimately key to Miami’s hopes of contending for the Super Bowl. The Dolphins started 3-0 before he went down, losing their next three before their season spiraled down the stretch.

Andrew Gamble

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