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NFL Draft

Tua Tagovailoa Suffers Season-Ending Injury

Dr. Beth Sullivan      | November 17th, 2019 

With Alabama up 35-7 and just over three minutes to go in the first half, Alabama starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa suffered a season-ending hip injury and a contusion to his nose which caused a profuse nose bleed. Tua suffered a posterior hip dislocation with an acetabular rim fracture and was flown by helicopter back to Alabama for further evaluation. A lot of comments regarding this injury have already been made, and I hope this piece will help to explain the injury and the recovery facing Tua.

This video shows the injury and the care he received immediately following the freak injury.

In 90% of all hip dislocations, the dislocation occurs in the posterior direction. As is the case for Tua, soft tissue injuries, as well as damage to the acetabulum (the socket part of the hip joint), also occur. He is currently undergoing further testing and evaluation in Birmingham, AL to determine the best plan for treatment and recovery from this devastating injury. I anticipate he will undergo surgery to stabilize the acetabulum soon and then will begin the recovery process.

As was reported extensively throughout social media shortly after the injury, the injury Tua sustained was similar to the one that was responsible for the end of Bo Jackson‘s professional football career almost thirty years ago. The big difference between Jackson and Tua is the fact that Tua’s injury was identified immediately and treatment began immediately after. Between the rapid diagnosis and the advances in medical care over the last thirty years, Tua has a much better chance to return and perform close to his preinjury level than Jackson had.

The major complications that could face Tua as he recovers are nerve damage to major nerves of the lower extremity that run through the posterior pelvis, osteonecrosis due to damage to the blood supply to the head of the femur, and osteoarthritis due to damage to the cartilage in the hip joint. 

Despite the significant injury, Tua took to social media to thank fans and players for their get well wishes.

Recovery time from this injury varies with two to three months for healing and then an extended period of physical therapy once the hip has healed. This could be as much as six to eight months total.

Tua faces a long winding road to recovery, but with the advances in medical care, it is not out of the question that he will return to the playing field once he has recovered. The editors and writing staff for TheScorecrow.com will join the masses in their good wishes for a speedy and uneventful recovery.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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