Ever wonder what really goes on during trials in New York City? Join Paul Edelstein and Glenn Feagenburg, two seasoned trial attorneys from The Edelsteins, Faegenburg and Brown, for lively conversations with former judges, experts, doctors, and other trial professionals who have the real scoop on New York City’s sometimes tumultuous and always intriguing trial scene.
Welcome to Pulling Back the Legal Curtain. I am your host, Paul Edelstein. I’ll have my partner, Glen Faegenburg with me most of the time. This podcast is for all of you out there who have ever read about a court case, seen a court case, been involved in a court case, went to court, thought about court, and wondered what the hell is going on in courts. Seems like every day we have these kinds of questions and get asked them. On this podcast we will pull back the curtain on the mystery that sometimes surrounds the court and what happens there, and hopefully give you some answers. Some interesting, some humorous, some surprising. Stick with us on Pulling Back the Legal Curtain. All right, Mr. Faegenburg, the big story this morning is right up your alley and my alley, was Tua Tagovailoa.
What happened to Tua?
Here is a professional athlete, obviously in incredible shape, surrounded by what should be the highest caliber of medical care and athletic care under the closest possible scrutiny. What appears to have happened last night is that he obviously took a blow to the head that resulted… We don’t have the medicals, but it looks, from what I could tell, to be a concussion, neurological related problem that was pretty scary. The results of which I guess we don’t know yet.
What was the first thing you thought of when you were watching that game?
I was thinking about a case that you had for sure, but I was seething mad, because I saw that hit on Sunday and they called it a back injury on Sunday. It was so clear that he was stumbling around and woozy. Clearly, he had suffered a concussion, but they chose to put him back in the game. It was also super hot day, over 100 degrees on the field, and then they have this guy come back four days later. I don’t even think there even should be Thursday night football. I think it’s ridiculous for the players. But to send a guy who had clearly had some sort of neurological problem on Sunday back onto the field to be re-injured, it’s just crazy. There were neurologists and concussion specialists predicting that this is exactly what was going to happen. And sure enough, it looks to be the man had a seizure on the field. It is crazy. It makes me think about the boxing case that you have for sure.
What happened last night relates to something that happened before last night. Last Sunday, this very same quarterback, in an NFL game, took a severe blow and then got up from that blow and sort of stumbled around the field. That’s what you’re referring to. They took him out of the game at that point.
From your perspective with your knowledge of brain medicine what can these symptoms be related to?
It could be something orthopedic, but the manner in which… He looked like there was some sort of neurological condition based on the fact that his knees were wavering. It didn’t look like there was any physical, from what I could see, knee injury, ankle injury, elbow injury, any sort of other bodily injury that could explain exactly the movements he was making. That looked like somebody who was suffering from either vertigo or some sort of neurological condition where they were out of it, and they could not keep themselves balanced because they were out of it.
Why didn’t they try to prevent these things from happening?
It’s so crazy. They have a protocol. I guess if you don’t say it was a concussion to begin with, then you don’t have to worry about the protocol. It seems to me that when you see a guy like that in that game, there’s no reason to put him back in the game, but for one reason, which is to win the game. Why? So that your team will get more fannies in the stadium and more people watching TV and you will make more money because you beat the Bills by two points. They’re willing to sacrifice, it sounds to me, well, it seemed to me, from what I watched these last two games, that they’re willing to sacrifice their star quarterback. This is one of the great prospects. He came out highly touted, I think he went number two and he’s a tremendous, gifted player.
But if you’re going to allow this to happen, he’s never going to get to play. It’s outrageous that they decided to put profits ahead of safety. This happens time and time again with large businesses. They treat people like they’re just a cog in the machine. Tua is just a cog in the NFL machine. I related to labor law cases that I work with, we do construction accident cases and people that fall flat, there are special statutes that apply. There are a lot of people complaining about those statutes that they’re too harsh and everyone gets blamed, and owners get blamed. What they don’t understand is that without those statutes, companies will just do whatever it takes to make the most money as quickly as possible. And that means sacrificing safety. So they’re not going to set up the ladders the right way.
They’re not going to set up the scaffolds the right way unless they’re forced to. That unfortunately, is the state that we’re in for many, many businesses. I’m not saying it’s all businesses, but clearly the NFL, in this case or in Miami Dolphins, somebody I think is responsible for allowing this man to have basically what I saw to be a seizure in the middle of the field. It’s just so frightening. This is his livelihood; this is his mental and physical health. It’s just crazy that you would take that chance and put this guy back on the field four days after the whole world, saw him wobbling around from a vicious hit. Let’s get real. The NFL, it’s tougher than it’s ever been. The players, they’re bigger, they’re stronger, they’re faster. It’s a super dangerous game and, if you do have a concussion, you got to sit down for a while. It’s simple as that. Can’t play.
Do you think he has a case?
I think he’s going to have a case. I don’t know who it’s going to be against, but God forbid this guy has an injury that keeps him… Even if he is out for the season, I would think the guy would have a case. But clearly if he can’t return, I think that there will be a case. What they’re going to say is, “Look, we did the protocol, and we followed the protocol. Okay?” And the NFL is going to say… From what I’m seeing, the protocol was based on a fictitious injury. He didn’t have a back injury, he had a concussion, a brain injury. They knew if they said back injury, they’ll get him back playing football sooner.
But if Tua did call us, boy would I like to cross examine whatever doctor cleared him to get back in that Bills game last week and interpreted a blow to the head and back, combined with the symptoms that they saw of him wobbling around the field and said, “I ruled out concussion and neurological signs.” I don’t think that’s going to be a very lengthy or difficult cross examination. Do you?
Well, it could be lengthy because it’s just so ridiculous a statement. You could have a field day, you’d be two hours, you could beat the guy up on that. This should not happen in this day and age. We’re in 2022 and we know so much about head injuries and concussions. This should not happen. Period.
I’m with you. Hopefully there’s no call from Tua to us or anybody else because he’s okay. But boy, hopefully… It’s amazing, right? We said after Mago years ago where that we hope that there would be a higher level of scrutiny on professional athletics to prevent this from happening again. Yet just seems over and over and over again we see it. The NFL… How many times is this happening, not at an NFL or professional level, but rather college, high school, all these other sports? You’re not seeing these and that’s a really, really big problem. Maybe the scrutiny that comes with Tua’s injury here, let’s hope he’s all right. But maybe the scrutiny that’ll get placed on it, much like a lawsuit, will affect a way to change. Hope so.
Speak to you in a little while. See you. Thanks for joining us on Pulling Back the Legal Curtain with Paul and Glen. Because we get so many questions over so many years about what goes on behind the legal curtain in the legal world, we tried to put this together so it would be entertaining and interesting and hopefully educational. If you liked it, come join us again or visit our website at edelsteinslaw.com. Either way, we’re always going to be here in front of and behind the legal curtain. Doing the only thing that we know how to do, which is proceed. Take care.