April 3, 2018
Concussion and Rowan’s Law!
On March 6, 2017, Ontario passed Rowan’s Law.
Rowan Stringer was a seventeen year old Rugby player in Ottawa, who passed away after receiving concussive injuries during practice and play, on her High School’s Rugby team.
Rowan’s father, Gordon Stringer, took it upon himself to challenge the Ontario Government to create Legislation to protect the Youth of Ontario. This recently became law, and is now referred to as “Rowan’s Law“.
Across the country, Ontario is the first Province to pass Concussion related Legislation. Canada is playing “catch-up” with the United States, where concussion-related Legislation has been enacted in every State.
In May 2009, Washington State enacted the Zackery Lystedt Law, becoming the first state in the USA to enact a comprehensive youth sports concussion safety law. Rowan’s Law follows the guidelines in that law.
The highlights of the requirements specified in Rowan’s Law include:
- A sport organization must not register an individual who is under the prescribed age in a sports activity unless the individual confirms that they have reviewed the concussion awareness resources approved by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.The regulations may provide for other circumstances where a sport organization must require individuals to confirm that they have reviewed the resources.
For individuals under 18 years of age or such other prescribed age, the parent or guardian of the individual must also confirm that they have reviewed the resources.
Individuals who serve as a coach or in other prescribed positions for a sport organization must also confirm that they have reviewed the resources.
- A sport organization must establish a concussion code of conduct. Similar to the rules described above, various individuals must confirm that they have reviewed a sport organization’s concussion code of conduct.
- A sport organization must establish a removal-from-sport protocol for athletes who are suspected of having sustained a concussion.The protocol must, among other things, establish a specific process to implement the immediate removal of an athlete and must designate persons who are responsible for ensuring the removal of the athlete and ensuring that they do not return to training, practice or competition, except in accordance with the sport organization’s return-to-sport protocol.
- A sport organization is required to establish a return-to-sport protocol that applies with respect to athletes who have sustained a concussion or are suspected of having sustained a concussion. The protocol must, among other things, establish a specific process to implement the return of an athlete to training, practice or competition and must designate persons who are responsible for ensuring that an athlete does not return until permitted to do so in accordance with the protocol.
- The Act proclaims the last Wednesday in September as Rowan’s Law Day.
Rowans Law goes a long way to improving the reporting, treatment and management of an incident, but does it go far enough?
Should the law not dictate, that a wearable Brain Impact Monitor like the new technology from SportFitz (a wearable concussion monitoring system – www.sportfitz.com), to detect events that may cause concussion and sub-concussive injuries (these are small injuries that may not show traditional symptoms, but are injuries none-the-less) be mandated!