ROWAN'S LAW (CONCUSSION SAFETY)
Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018, makes Ontario a national leader in concussion management and prevention by establishing mandatory requirements that call for:
Annual review of concussion awareness resources that help prevent, identify and manage concussions, which athletes, coaches, educators and parents would be required to review before registering in a sport
Removal-from-sport and return-to-sport protocols, to ensure that an athlete is immediately removed from sport if they are suspected of having sustained a concussion and giving them the time required to heal properly
A concussion code of conduct that would set out rules of behaviour to minimize concussions while playing sport.
In honour of Rowan Stringer, the 17-year-old rugby player whose death resulted from sustaining multiple concussions, the legislation establishes the last Wednesday in September as “Rowan’s Law Day”.
Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to pass concussion safety legislation, setting a precedent for sport legislation across the country. The Ontario government worked closely with key medical experts, athletes, coaches and sport leaders – most notably the members of the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee – in establishing this first-of-its-kind legislation.
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Call 911 if the person is unconscious, has lost consciousness or had a seizure.
If they are conscious:
visit an emergency room or primary care provider, such as your family doctor or nurse practitioner
contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to get health advice or information
Look out for signs of a concussion in others. Symptoms may appear immediately or be felt days after an injury, especially in children and the elderly. If symptoms appear or persist, visit a physician or nurse practitioner.
Rowan’s Law: Concussion Awareness Resources
Review the Concussion Awareness Resources (if you are an athlete, parent, coach, team trainer or official).
Requirements for Sport Organizations
Ontario is a national leader in concussion management and prevention. Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018 makes it mandatory for sports organizations to:
ensure that athletes under 26 years of age,* parents of athletes under 18, coaches, team trainers and officials confirm every year that they have reviewed Ontario’s Concussion Awareness Resources
establish a Concussion Code of Conduct that sets out rules of behaviour to support concussion prevention
establish a Removal-from-Sport and Return-to-Sport protocol
* Special Rule: A sport organization that is a university, college of applied arts and technology or other post-secondary institution must not register any athlete regardless of age unless the same requirements are met.
The new rules requiring the review of Concussion Awareness Resources and Concussion Codes of Conduct came into effect on July 1, 2019.
The rules for removal-from-sport and return-to-sport protocols are expected to be in place by July 1, 2020.
Requirements for School Boards
The Ministry of Education has a concussion policy (PPM 158: School Board Policies on Concussion) for school boards, school authorities and Provincial and Demonstration schools.
This policy was updated by the Ministry of Education to be consistent with Rowan’s Law, and new requirements will come into effect on January 31, 2020.