Ottawa Sport Council Spring Sport Summit to Tackle Concussions

Save the date – we are excited to announce our upcoming Spring Sport Summit! We hope you will join us on Saturday, June 3rd, at the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club.

For our theme, we have chosen to tackle the sometimes controversial and evolving topic of concussions. The brain injury has been mentioned for decades (especially in the NFL and other professional sports associations) yet we are still discovering many new symptoms (long and short-term), rehabilitation techniques and ways to avoid concussions all together.

On June 3rd, we will bring together the experts in the field, to discuss the impact that a sport-related injury, such as a concussion, can have on the developing brain and how we can work together to ensure risk is minimal. We will advance the dialogue around the growing prevalence of concussions in sports through a series of presentations, and round table discussions.

While the Ottawa Sport Council has always encouraged sport participation, it has also worked to make the community sport landscape a safer space for all participants by facilitating learning opportunities—and there is compelling evidence that concussion education can decrease occurrences and minimize the impact of concussions in sport.

It is our hope that you will REGISTER your organization and be a part of the learning and the conversation.

Rowan’s Law – Part 1

Local Ottawa teen, Rowan Stringer was only 17 when she died on Mother’s Day in 2013. After suffering her second concussion within the week, the teen lost consciousness while playing the sport she loved and never awoke again.

The coroner’s inquest that followed exposed a lack of protocols in youth amateur sports that experts say must be addressed to keep children safe.

In our two-part blog series, we explore the recommendations made to educate parents, athletes, coaches and organizations about the severity that head injuries can lead to. We also look at the pressure felt by athletes to push forward, not taking the necessary recovery time and, leaving young athletes at risk. What has been implemented since the recommendations and what work still needs to be done? There are still many questions that need to be addressed and more research to be done, however – we are on the right path by continuing to have these conversations and raise awareness.

The coroner’s inquest into Rowan’s death resulted in 49 recommendations, including but not limited to:

  • Increased education & awareness for parents, coaches, athletes, and teachers surrounding concussion injuries
  • Better tools for coaches & trainers to identify concussions
  • Concussion policies in place at all school boards and sports associations across Ontario
  • Increased education and training for healthcare professionals to better treat and manage concussions

Rowan’s Law requested that an expert advisory committee to Ontario’s Premier was created, to develop a plan to implement the coroner’s recommendations. In our next part of this blog, we will reach out to the committee and various healthcare practitioners to discuss what steps have been taken and what is left to do.

2017 – the Year of Sport in the Capital!

With Canada celebrating it’s 150th year, Ottawa hosting their highly anticipated Ottawa2017 celebrations, and making the world destination “List of places to visit” Top 10, our city is amped up for what is certain to be an unforgettable year!

Along with the celebrations, there are many sport-centred events and stunts planned (such as Redbull Crashed Ice kicking off in March) and dragon boat ice racing, just to name a few. However, one event has caught our attention more then others – the bid to host the Canada Games in 2021.

On January 12th, surrounded by dignitaries, athletes and local community members, Mayor Jim Watson kicked off the bid for the Ottawa 2021 Canada Summer Games! There was local entertainment on site, amateur sport clubs, professional athletes and many volunteers, who all came together to show their drive and dedication to bring the Games to Ottawa and demonstrate to the country what sport means to Ottawa.

As a Council, our job is to support organizations in their quest to further their sport initiatives. It is our belief that incorporating activity and organized sport into our daily lives, brings people and communities together for the betterment of society. Hosting the Canada Games in Ottawa in 2021 will help foster our beliefs and create an exciting movement of sport in our city for years to come!

Please take the time to show your support for this initiative and sign up here: http://ottawa2021.ca/#support

All of us at the Ottawa Sport Council are rooting for the opportunity to host the Ottawa2021 Summer Canada Games!

New Year, New You: How to Avoid Losing the Healthy Resolution Game

Like many, we are happy to welcome 2017 and all the excitement of fresh slates and hopeful promise. As an organization that promotes amateur sport and a healthy lifestyle, January is an exciting time – as we see many people take to the gym and start healthy eating regimes. Over the months that follow, more then half of those who start in January, will have quit their New Years Resolution to be a better version of themselves. We want to help you stick to your goals and continue that journey of optimal health. Below are some quick tips to do just that:

Set Realistic Goals and Timelines

When you envision your end goal, whether it be to lose a set amount of weight, be able to run a specific distance or improve overall muscle tone and strength – you need to have a plan to get there. Your plan should fit your real-life schedule and consider that there will be things that pop up and attempt to throw you off your a-game. Is it realistic to plan to hit the gym six days a week, when you work a demanding job, have small children who participate in activities and you’re a member of the Parent-Teacher Council? No. When will you sleep? When will you rest? Start small and take incremental steps to reach your goals.

Have an Accountability Partner

You’ve heard that saying – “It takes a village to raise a child”, the same can be said about meeting goals and staying on track. Enlist a friend, trainer or even your kids to help keep you accountable to your plan and meet your goals. It’s also way more fun working out or eating healthy with others!

Go Easy on Yourself

Finally – don’t be hard on yourself. It takes 21 days to create a habit and even more to stick to it. If having a healthy diet and exercise routine was easy, we would all be doing it and this wouldn’t be a popular blog topic. If you do have set-backs, just start over. Forgive yourself and move forward with even more determination. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was that 6-pack!

Celebrating Volunteers at the Ottawa Sport Summit

On November 26, 2016 the Ottawa Sport Council will host the third annual Ottawa Sport Summit, in Lansdowne Park’s Horticulture Building. Featuring a panel of guest speakers, this year’s edition will focus on learning about, and celebrating, sport volunteerism in Ottawa.

Why are our volunteers so important? There are countless hours of meetings, organization, promotion and set-up before any event or league even begin. Once this is in place, there is a need for ongoing support to run sport activities as well as tournaments. With funding being at a premium for amateur organizations, paid positions are far and few between. Many dedicated people lend their time for the betterment of their community through sports and recreation programs. This has a domino effect, as it provides safe places for youth to spend their time, while mentoring them to grow up and give back as a volunteer themselves.

Since its formation, OSC has strived to help increase the leadership capacity of sport organizations in our nation’s capital. Volunteer Management, including recruitment, retention, recognition and retirement has been identified as an ongoing challenge by clubs in Ottawa. With more awareness surrounding the overall benefit and appreciation of volunteers, we can continue to grow this base and keep sport in the Nation’s Capital alive and well for generations to come!

The Sport Summit will be held from 8:15 – 4:15. To learn more about the event, and to register, please visit Ottawa Sport Summit

Fall Concussions

As Canadians, we love the autumn season. We embrace the chilly temperatures, celebrate the changing of the leaves and look forward to the crisp, fresh air that comes before the plummeting cold and banks of snow outside our doors. It’s also a popular time to be outside in the great outdoors and enjoy recreational sports, such as football.

Football is just as popular as the Fall season, itself. We flock to High school and university games, cheer on our Ottawa Redblacks professional CFL team and even toss around the ball in recreation leagues as part of our downtime. Although this is a fun and loved sport, one thing that we must be aware of, is the increasing possibility of sport related injury, especially concussions.

Some ways that we can try to prevent concussions are:

  1. Reducing repetitive head impacts in tackle football through limits on full-contact practices
  2. Neck strengthening
  3. Head impact exposure monitoring
  4. Delaying start of contact and collision sports
  5. Play by the rules. Teaching young athletes to respect the rules of their sport is part of good coaching
  6. Wear the appropriate equipment for your sport and wear it properly. Always close a chin strap if your sport requires a helmet; many concussions occur during practice
  7. Examine the playing field for uneven areas or holes
  8. Make sure that end posts are padded sufficiently
  9. Practice good sportsmanship. Teaching good sportsmanship is part of good coaching and good parenting minimizing unnecessary aggression on the field
  10. Learn and use proper technique for your sport. Some sports organizations have taken additional action to minimize the risk of concussion by limiting the number of contact practices allowed during the season

 

All suggestions present challenges and adopting an “all-of-the-above” approach is likely the best way to reduce the risk to youth and high school athletes from brain injury, both in the short- and long-term.

Education and prevention is key but also fast reaction time if a head injury does occur. It is important to seek professional medical help if you think you may be at risk of a concussion. Above all, play by the rules and have fun!

 

Ottawa advances to next bidding phase to host 2021 Canada Summer Games

The Canada Games Council announced September 12 that Ottawa is among the cities advancing to the second phase of the bid process to host the 2021 Canada Summer Games.

The Games are Canada’s largest multi-sport event for the next generation of national team athletes and represent the pinnacle of interprovincial/territorial sport competition. In addition to the 4,600 elite Canadian athletes who would compete at the Games, the event would bring thousands of family members, members of the media, officials and tourists to Ottawa.

“Today’s announcement is exciting news for our city as we prepare to move to the next phase in the bid process,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “I am proud of the work already done by our bid committee and I am confident that their experience and enthusiasm for sports will continue to promote our city as the destination of choice for the Canada Summer Games in 2021.”

The Canada Summer Games were last held in Sherbrooke, Québec in 2013, where they attracted 16,000 visitors and generated an estimated $165 million in economic impact.

“The economic benefit of hosting the Games would be a significant boost to our city and for our local businesses,” said Councillor Jody Mitic, the City’s Sport Commissioner. “It also provides an opportunity for residents to experience firsthand national-calibre sporting events where they can cheer on our Canadian athletes.”

The move to the next phase in the bid process follows:

  • The City’s Letter of Intent to Bid submission in May, which launched the process.
  • The Canada Games Technical Review Committee’s (TRC) visit to Ottawa on August 22 to conduct site visits to the Games Village and selected sport and non-sport venues. Sites visited included: the Nepean Sportsplex; Walter Baker Park; Lansdowne Park, including TD Place Stadium and TD Place Arena; the Terry Fox Athletic Facility; Carlington Park; the University of Ottawa; Carleton University; the Rockcliffe Yacht Club; and, the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club.
  • The Bid Evaluation Committee’s review of the TRC’s evaluation and recommendation, including any conditions required.

The City will now submit its Phase 2 – Comprehensive Host Community Bid proposal, showing the strength of the bid and overwhelming community support. The proposal will be evaluated by the Canada Games Council and scored against other bids from Greater Sudbury, Niagara Region, and a partnership between the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph and Cambridge. An announcement of the successful bidder is expected on March 30 or 31, 2017.

The Canada Games rank alongside other major sporting events like the Grey Cup, World Junior Hockey Championship and FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) championships. The games are a two-week long sporting event that would take place in late July and early August of 2021.

Promoting the nation’s capital as an ideal location for major national and international events and conventions is a cornerstone of the City’s economic development plan. The City developed the Bid More, Win More, Host More strategy in partnership with Ottawa Tourism to promote Ottawa as a world-class event hosting destination, create jobs and grow our local economy.

As We Sail Into September

Have you ever hit the high seas on a sailboat? Not only is it a great excuse to break out your Sperry’s and striped ensembles, it’s also great for your health. First, it’s an outdoor activity that can be done at almost any age and ability. Second, studies have shown that spending time outdoors greatly benefits your overall health and especially your mental health. Solitude and contemplation; A week at sea and the roar of the world subsides.  You don’t know, or care, what day it is, and the structure of your day is given by sunrise, sunset, and the watch schedule.  You come to know the phases of the moon without thinking about it. This way of living is in stark contrast to the usual western lifestyle and the perspective it provides inevitably results in personal insights and growth. If that description isn’t enough to sell you on this sport, here are a few more reasons:

Muscle strength and endurance: The many activities involved in sailing, like pulling and hoisting of sails to maneuver a boat or a yacht, adds to your muscle strength for your shoulders and back.

Cardiovascular fitness: Sailing can also improve your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of hypertension, obesity and other heart illness. This is because of the large amount of oxygen uptake that happens when you engage in intense activities.

Mental wellness: Being out on the water puts you in a good mood not just because of the calmness of the water but because of the salty air. The saltiness of the sea air is composed of charged ions that aid in the body’s oxygen absorption, which in turn balances serotonin levels. The more balanced your body’s serotonin levels are, the happier you’re going to be.

Lowers stress levels: The swooshing and splashing of water, the rhythmic movement of the yacht and the sound of the wind in the sails can all affect brainwave patterns. This relaxes and soothes a busy and highly stressed-out mind.

Increases agility: The various tasks associated with sailing also help improve your flexibility and agility. Activities like pulling lines or hoisting sails can significantly improve your hand-eye coordination and motor skills.

If you’re interested in more information from local sailing clubs, please check out our website listings.

SUP

When a new season ushers in, we always see a rise of popularity in at least one sport. It’s usually deemed the “new fad” or “trendy”. This year, we couldn’t help but wonder what has everyone trying the sport of stand up paddle boarding (SUP).

Hardly new, SUP has been around in various forms for centuries, but this year we seem to be seeing and hearing about it everywhere. People of all ages and skill levels are taking to this water sport to get active, explore the lakes and rivers and try something different. So what exactly is stand up paddle boarding and where can you try it?

It is noted that this sport originated in Hawaii as an offshoot of surfing. Unlike traditional surfing where the rider is sitting until a wave comes, stand up paddle boarders maintain an upright stance on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. Although there are variations of the sport that make it more challenging, like practicing yoga on the board, SUP is considered a much more calm and relaxing way to enjoy time on the water.

From an athletic standpoint, paddle boarding is a great way to increase core and upper-body strength, especially when paddling against a current or for an extended length of time, or as mentioned above, practicing yoga.

If you are in interested in learning more about stand up paddle boarding or would like to give it a try, you can connect with these local resources:

http://www.ottawasup.ca/

http://www.paddlefit.com/

http://www.rideaucanoeclub.ca/home/stand-up-paddling-sup

Ottawa at the Olympics- Special Edition of Ottawa Sportspage

The Ottawa at the Olympics Rio 2016 special edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper is now out!

Get to know all the local Olympians headed to the Aug. 5-21 Rio 2016 Games by reading the profiles of Ottawa area athletes.

The profiles on each local Olympian also include their competition schedules, so we do encourage you to support them however possible as they compete.

What an awesome team we have from Ottawa in Rio (and the fun will continue next month too for the Paralympics).

GO CANADA!!