Rowan’s Law: Protecting Children following Sports Concussions

In May of 2013, 17 year-old Rowan Stringer died after suffering multiple concussions while playing rugby for her high school team in Ottawa. Sadly, a lack of knowledge surrounding treatment and protocols for concussions (especially repeat concussions) may have contributed to her death. The coroner’s investigation which followed resulted in a total of 49 recommendations to prevent similar tragedies from occurring ever again.

The first recommendation from the coroner’s investigation was that Ontario enact legislation to recognize the importance of education and protocols surrounding concussions suffered by young people while playing sports.

On March 6, 2018, “Rowan’s Law” was enacted by the Ontario Legislature. Rowan’s Law imposes various requirements on sports organizations regarding concussion education and procedures for removing children from participation following head injuries. Rowan’s Law requires that children review and understand a concussion awareness resource before they participate in sports. In other words, Rowan’s Law seeks to increase awareness surrounding concussion among those for whom it matters most: children in sports. Rowan’s Law also imposes on sports organizations a requirement to establish protocols for both “removal from sport” and “return to sport” for athletes who are suspected of having sustained a concussion.

Rowan’s Law should bring greater awareness to the significance of concussion injuries in sports, and avoid “second impact” injuries, like the one that killed Rowan Stringer. Ontario is finally moving in the right direction when it comes to spreading the word about concussions.

Oatley Vigmond is Ontario’s Personal Injury Law Firm. If you or someone you know has suffered a concussion or brain injury, we may be able to help.

About the Authors

Adam Little earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in 1996. He graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Law in 2000 and was called to the bar in 2002. Adam was practicising on Bay Street for a leading Toronto litigation firm that represented doctors in medical malpractice claims when he realized that helping people through personal injury litigation was what he wanted to do. “I wanted to work for the best,” he said. A partner at Oatley Vigmond had written the best-known book available about addressing jury trials, which Adam had read and admired. He wrote to the partner, went through an intense interview process and became a partner at the firm in 2005.

To learn more about Adam, please click here.