Tua Tagovailoa will make his first start on Sunday since sustaining a concussion on “Thursday Night Football” against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 29, and the Miami Dolphins quarterback is finally speaking publicly about that night.

The Bengals’ Josh Tupou sacked Tagovailoa in the second quarter, causing the quarterback to smack his head against the turf. He laid on the ground for 12 minutes before being carted off, according to ESPN.

After suffering head and neck injuries, he was taken to a hospital in Cincinnati. He was able to fly back to Miami with the rest of the team the next day.

On Wednesday, Tagovailoa met with the media and fielded questions about the night of his concussion.

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Tua Tagovailoa: ‘I was unconscious’

When asked by a reporter if he was scared like everyone else watching on television, Tagovailoa admitted that he was unconscious for some of it and didn’t know what was going on.

“I wouldn’t say it was scary for me at the time because there was a point where I was unconscious, so I couldn’t really tell what was going on,” he said. “When I did come to and kind of realized what was going on, what was happening, I didn’t think of anything long-term or short-term. I was just wondering what happened.”

Tagovailoa remembers everything leading up to the sack. The same can’t be said for the moments after.

“After I got tackled, I don’t remember much from there,” he said. “Getting carted off, I don’t remember that, but I do remember things that were going on when I was in the ambulance and then when I arrived at the hospital.”

When Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel went onto the field to check on his quarterback, he could tell Tagovailoa was concussed, according to the New York Post.

“Once I got out to the field, I knew right away that this was at least a concussion,” he said after the game. “He was asking for me, and when he saw me, I could just tell that it wasn’t the same guy that I’m used to seeing.”

Navigating concussion protocol

In the wake of the injury, the Dolphins placed Tagovailoa in concussion protocol. He met with doctors in Pittsburgh and Detroit before being cleared to play, NFL Insider Tom Pelissero reported.

Tagovailoa missed the past two games, despite being cleared to play last week. He said navigating concussion protocol and the investigation the NFL Players Association launched after his injury has been the most stressful part of the last three weeks.

“But all of it’s done for player safety,” he said. “I’m glad I got to go through those things to kind of understand more of the deals of concussions and the effects long-term, short-term (and) things like that.”

Reporters then asked the quarterback about his risk of developing CTE. He shared some of the insights he learned from the various doctors he had spoken with over the last few weeks.

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“There’s not necessarily as much long-term risk,” he said, according to Pro Football Network. “Let’s say guys get about six concussions. Well, those guys that only have six concussions that are playing the position that I’m playing, where we don’t hit as much, are less susceptible to getting CTE later on in their years than someone who’s playing a position where they’re constantly taking hits or blows to the head, which would be O-line, D-line, linebackers.”

Will Tagovailoa play differently going forward?

The Dolphins were 3-0 before Tagovailoa’s concussion but went 0-3 in his absence, losing to the Bengals, Jets and Vikings.

Tagovailoa said it was hard to watch his team from the sideline without being able to help them, but he acknowledged that if he wants to continue to play with them, then he needs to protect himself.

“I’ve always been a person to try and like make something happen,” he told the media. “That’s always been my mindset, if you will, and throwing the ball away hasn’t been something I’ve done in the past really well because I’m trying to make plays. Just learning from that, if it’s not there you know, it’s okay to throw it away. It’s the longevity of me just being able to be the quarterback for this team and not try to make something out of nothing.”

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