Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa came into the 2022 season with many question marks. A polarizing quarterback, many thought the Dolphins were wasting their time trading for superstar Tyreek Hill and signing Terron Armstead. Yet, Tagovailoa opened the season with three straight wins over the Patriots, Ravens, and Bills. All solid defenses that Tagovailoa faced and answered with a historic comeback win against the Ravens, throwing for six touchdowns and 469 yards.

At this time, the Dolphins’ offense looked completely unstoppable. Unfortunately, the Dolphins misdiagnosed a head injury Tagovailoa sustained vs. the Bills as a back injury. This resulted in a scary scene when the Dolphins took on the Bengals, where Tagovailoa took a big hit that caused his body to freeze up and sit out for the next three weeks. Many believe the effects of this hit were a direct result of the head injury sustained vs. the Bills.

Tagovailoa was able to return several weeks later to lead the Dolphins to a victory over the Steelers. In his absence, the Dolphins were unable to string together a single win. The second stint of Tagovailoa’s 2022 season had ups and downs but unfortunately ended when Tagovailoa sustained another head injury vs. the Packers.

Concussions are very scary. Science has evolved significantly since the older days of football, and we know much more about the long-term ramifications of sustaining multiple concussions. If Tagovailoa sustains another concussion, it could severely impact his long-term health. Many members of the media even canvassed for the young quarterback to step away from the game completely and retire at age 25. 

Tua Tagovailoa has assured the media that he is well aware of the risks that come with playing football. Dolphins’ general manager Chris Grier has told the media that multiple medical specialists determined Tagovailoa is not more susceptible to head injuries than anyone else. He went on to say that the helmet Tagovailoa uses is one of the best in the league.

Where does this leave Tua Tagovailoa for the 2023 season? Medical specialists have told him he can continue playing, but he still has to do something to prevent any more head injuries. As previously mentioned, he absolutely cannot sustain another head injury; this is imperative. Tagovailoa can try to find a safer helmet, but the extra protection he receives might be minimal, considering his current helmet is already among the best.

This is why the Dolphins’ quarterback decided on a solution that has perplexed some. He has committed to learning Jujitsu this offseason. Despite naysayers spouting doubt about this decision, learning martial arts could prove extremely beneficial. In Jujitsu, one of the first lessons is learning to fall properly in a way that protects yourself in case an attacker tries to slam you to the ground. 

Anyone who has learned Jujitsu or similar martial arts could tell you that learning to fall in the safest way possible becomes an instinct. In many of Tagovailoa’s games, he would fall to the ground very awkwardly, even in cases where the tackle was routine. A program that enhances Tagovailoa’s mind-body connection and instills the proper way to fall is very valuable. 

Tagovailoa’s trainer Nick Hicks has said the Jujitsu program they are implementing is football oriented and modified specifically to best suit their purposes. In addition to learning Jujitsu, Tagovailoa’s trainer has said they are working on neck strengthening exercises this offseason. Lost in the conversations about Tagovailoa’s concussions is that he did not sustain any body injuries over the season. It seems as though his training is paying dividends to his body’s health.

Will these precautions protect Tagovailoa for the 2023 season and ensure he is available to compete in a Super Bowl? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: the Dolphins’ offense looks best when Tua Tagovailoa is running it. If he remains healthy, the Dolphins can seriously compete.