Published on : Thursday, September 14, 2017
Following a year of thorough consultation, discussion and collaboration, the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee report for the prevention and management of concussions in amateur sport was tabled in the Legislature.
The report, which will inform Ontario’s next steps for concussion safety, focuses on safe participation in sport through surveillance, prevention, detection, management and awareness. Working with sport leaders across Ontario, the province will review and build on the report’s recommendations to make our sport system safer for everyone.
The province also intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, could govern amateur sport throughout the province, including in schools, communities and recreation areas.
Chaired by Dr. Dan Cass, the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee was established to review the jury recommendations made as a result of the coroner’s inquest into the tragic death of 17-year-old varsity rugby player Rowan Stringer. The review, which also included a broader study of the concussion landscape, provided advice to the government on how to implement the jury recommendations and improve head safety across Ontario’s sport system.
Creating a world class amateur sport system where athletes can play safely is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
Ontario became the first jurisdiction in Canada to address concussions through legislation when it passed the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee Act, 2016 on June 9, 2016. The legislation acts on recommendations made by the coroner’s jury following an inquest into the death of Rowan Stringer.
Ontario’s current work to increase awareness about concussions includes a web portal with information and resources on concussions, and a Sport Recognition Policy that requires all recognized provincial and multi-sport organizations to have policies on concussion management and return-to-play.
In Ontario, 22 per cent of students reported being knocked out or admitted to hospital due to a head injury in their lifetime. In Canada, among children and youth who visit an emergency department for a sports-related head injury, 39 per cent were diagnosed with concussions, while a further 24 per cent were possible concussions.
In 2016, Ontario launched a new Sport Recognition Policy that requires recognized provincial and multi-sport organizations to maintain a Concussion Management and Return to Play policy, which outlines procedures to identify and manage concussions based on the International Concussion Consensus Guidelines.
In 2014, the Ministry of Education issued a policy/program memorandum requiring all school boards to develop and maintain a policy on concussions.