O'Brien On WFAN: Tua's Injury An '8 Out of 10'

Surgeon Says 25% Of Athletes Never Come Back From It

Mike's On
November 18, 2019 - 5:36 pm

Saturday afternoon, Alabama Crimson Tide Tua Tagovaolia suffered a season-ending dislocated hip injury versus Mississippi State. He was taken off the field on a cart and airlifted to a nearby hospital to have surgery performed by Alabama orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain.

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Tagovolia was projected by many to be the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft.

WFAN's Mike Francesa brought on Dr. Steve O'Brien, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, to discuss Tua's injury and his NFL prospects moving forward.

"With an injury like this, 25% of the athletes will never come back," O'Brien said. "He's going to take six months to a year to rehab. Another year to prove he can be agile. I could be wrong. It could be one year but not this spring I assure you."

Francesa wondered whether Tagovoiloa would be able to work out for NFL teams before the NFL Draft next spring.

"He couldn't work out for teams next April. I wouldn't let him... if his MRI and tests come back negative and you think he's that good, id draft him and sit him out for a year. his chances are very good. It's like a burn patient. you don't know how bad the burn is until a week later... he's got every chance to be in that good bucket but you won't know for 4-6 months now.

Doctor O'Brien suggests Tagovoiloa style of play may have to change in order to stay healthy at the next level.

"This is what happens to running quarterbacks... his running days should be over... he's vulnerable by the position and how he plays, not his body. He's a good body kid.... you might have him at the tail end of next season."

NFL legend Bo Jackson actually suffered the same injury as Tagoavolia. Except, Jackson also suffered from Avascular necrosis, where the bone loses its blood supply and causes the death of the bone. Tagovolia's hip was reduced right away at the stadium, which didn't happen with Jackson over 28 years ago.

"On a scale of 1-10, it was an 8. The key is they got him back in right away, they operated right away, which gives him a much better chance. Usually, with car accidents they don't get to the hospital for 2 hours, they had it back in place within 20 minutes."