Head injuries and brain damage aren’t just a problem in combat sports. They’re a major issue in the NFL as well. Playing in the league means risking repetitive head trauma that could have detrimental repercussions to the rest of a player’s life.
NFL’s Tua Tagovailoa had three major head injuries last year and the organization forced him to take time off. Despite being just 24 years old, he has an alarming concussion history. With some additional training in judo, his trainers believe reduce the risk of CTE in the Dolphins lineup.
Mastering break falls (Ukemi) is a crucial combat skill that protects practitioners from catastrophic injuries. It also teaches us that setbacks and defeats are part of the ebb and flow of combat, and what ultimately matters is the final outcome.
UFC superstar Conor McGregor recently credited Judo break falls with saving his life after a bicycle he was riding got hit by a vehicle.
This is why Tua Tagovailoa decided to train in judo to help minimize the risk of such injuries.
The quarterback for the Miami Dolphins spoke on Up & Adams about including judo in his training regimen. He said the following:
“We’ve got a plan set up…… I’ll be doing judo on Fridays just so that I can kind of figure out understanding my body and how to fall… Just trying to help myself.”
While this may sound silly, it can actually protect Tagovailoa from injuries.