Reviewing Rowan’s Law: Part Two

In Reviewing Rowan’s Law: Part One, we briefly reviewed some of the recommendations made from the Coroner’s inquest from Rowan Stringer’s tragic death. There have been many press releases, meetings at Queen’s Park and discussions with key stakeholders in the amateur sport sector, not only in Ontario – but also Canada wide.

It has now been just over a year since Rowan’s Law made Ontario the first province in Canada with legislation aimed at concussion prevention. While there is further work to do, many organizations have embraced change in this area and are working to educate and protect their athletes. For example, Football Canada has introduced concussion awareness and management tools, and The Concussion in Youth Sport Act was introduced in  the Manitoba Legislature, which proposes to add new training and responsibilities for coaches of child athletes. This Act has yet to pass but is a step in the right direction. If the law passes, coaches will be required to identify concussion symptoms and ensure any player suspected of suffering a concussion is removed from play until they’re medically cleared to return.

In Ontario, a Special Advisory Committee to the Premier of Ontario was also created. This group will work toward implementing the recommendations set out from the Coroner’s inquest. Rowan’s Law currently only applies in Ontario, which the committee would like to change.  The committee is calling for legislation across the country to give all Canadian youth similar protection through mandatory concussion protocols.

At our recent Sport Summit, Let’s Talk about Concussions, held at the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club, we convened a number of speakers including Mr. Gordon Stringer (father of Rowan Stringer and key advocate of Rowan’s law), Karolina Wisniewska (Canadian Paralympian), Lorraine Lafrenière (Chief Executive Officer,  Coaching Association of Canada), and Dr. Andrée-Anne Ledoux ( Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute) to discuss the growing epidemic of concussion in sport. Each speaker brought an unique perspective to the discussion; parent, coach, athlete and physician. A video of the summit can be found here

One thing that resonated with summit attendees was Mr. Stringer’s discussion about the tragic loss of his daughter. He mentioned how Rowan had a physical injury that was the focus of discussion and because her concussion could not be seen, nobody understood its severity.  Gordon Stringer emphasized the importance of advocating for teammates and players when you see them get hurt. Speak up and let someone know that the player needs to be removed from the game immediately and seek medical attention. It is simple advice, but often overlooked in the moment of the game.

For more information on Rowan’s Law, the Sport Summit and upcoming sessions, please visit our website.