Rowan's Law and Concussion Awareness
Rowan Stringer was a high school rugby player from Ottawa, who passed away in May 2013 from Second Impact Syndrome due to multiple concussions suffered within a short period of time. In a period of 6 days Rowan played in 3 games, and was tackled or hit in the head in each game. She was taken out in the first game due to complaining about a headache, did not tell anyone that the headache had returned in the 2nd game after another hit to her head, and lost consciousness after being tackled in the 3rd game. At the young age of 17, this would be her last game.
A coroner’s inquest into her death resulted in 49 recommendations to be implemented in an effort to prevent another tragedy such as this from happening in the future. Rowan’s Law, which passed unanimously at the Ontario Legislature on June 7, 2016, is a private members bill put forth to put these recommendations into action.
A concussion is a brain injury that ultimately results in a disturbance in the energy levels as well as blood flow within the brain. If the injury is managed appropriately through adequate recovery, most concussions recover without any additional or serious consequences. However, during this period of low energy, the brain is extremely vulnerable to additional trauma. Second Impact Syndrome results from a second concussion during this recovery stage, and can result in a dangerous drop in energy levels and blood flow which leads to a rapid increase in swelling in the brain and death. It is the result of suffering two concussions in a very short period of time (i.e., within a week or two). Unfortunately the symptoms experienced, or not experienced, has no bearing on the recovery level of the brain.
As a result, recommendation's put forth by the coroner's inquest included:
- Increased education and awareness for parents, coaches, athletes, and teachers surrounding concussion injuries
- Better tools for coaches and 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
With the passing of Rowan’s Law, the first such law in Canada to legislate concussion awareness, as of July 1, 2019 all players under 26 years of age, parents of athletes under 18, coaches, team trainers and officials must confirm every year that they have reviewed Ontario’s Concussion Awareness Resources.
UNDER ROWAN'S LAW, BEFORE ANY PLAYER CAN BE REGISTERED WITH THE YORK BASEBALL ASSOCIATION AND BASEBALL ONTARIO, THE PLAYER, AND THE PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN OF THE PLAYER IF THE PLAYER IS UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE, MUST REVIEW ONE OF THE CONCUSSION EDUCATION RESOURCES PROVIDED BY THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO AND MUST REVIEW THE PLAYER CODE OF CONDUCT.
Attached below are Government of Ontario Concussion Awareness Resource e-booklets, organized by age groups. Please review the appropriate booklets, to help you learn more about concussions. You can download and print a copy for reference.
To learn more about Rowan's Law visit rowanslaw.ca