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Leading the Way in Player Safety

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 07/22/19, 10:30AM EDT

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What Rowan's Law means for sport and Concussion Safety in Canada

Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 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.

Every Trainer on a team must have their HTCP Level 1. The Hockey Trainer Certification Program is designed to educate people in the prevention, recognition and management of hockey-related injuries and is the only sport-specific risk management, injury management and safety education program in Ontario.

Starting this season, participants will be required to review the issued Concussion Awareness Resources, sign the acknowledgment form and submit it to their respective minor hockey association.

Requirements for Registrants and Organizations

  • All Registrants registering July 1, 2019 or after must have completed the review information and acknowledgement prior to registration/participation.
  • All Team Officials currently registered will be required to complete the review of information and acknowledgement prior to August 30, 2019.
  • All Registrants registered prior to July 1, 2019 must complete the review of information and acknowledgement prior to participation in the first game.

Requirements for Sport Organizations

The OMHA is a leader in concussion management and prevention. Rowan’s Law makes it mandatory for sports organizations to:

  1. 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
  2. establish a Concussion Code of Conduct that sets out rules of behaviour to support concussion prevention
  3. establish a Removal-from-Sport and Return-to-Sport protocol

About Concussions

A concussion is a brain injury. It can’t be seen on X-rays, CT scans or MRIs. It may affect the way a person thinks, feels and acts.

Any blow to the head, face or neck may cause a concussion. A concussion may also be caused by a blow to the body if the force of the blow causes the brain to move around inside the skull. A concussion can happen to anyone – anywhere – including:

  • at home, school or your workplace
  • following a car, bike or pedestrian accident
  • from participating in games, sports or other physical activity

A concussion is a serious injury. While the effects are typically short-term, a concussion can lead to long-lasting symptoms and even long-term effects.

There are many signs and symptoms of a concussion to look out for, including:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • ringing in the ears
  • memory loss
  • nausea
  • light sensitivity
  • drowsiness
  • depression

If you notice signs of a concussion in others, or experience any of these symptoms yourself, consult with a physician or nurse practitioner.

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