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.
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