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Concussion Safety and Rowan’s Law

Photo of Rowan Stringer

Rowan’s Law Day was established in 2018, and is observed across Ontario on the last Wednesday in September each year. The purpose of Rowan’s Law Day is to improve concussion education and awareness, especially in schools and sport organizations. This year, Rowan’s Law Day took place on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 and for those of you who took part in our Instagram quiz, you’ll know that concussion symptoms can last some time if not managed properly and a helmet and mouth guard, although you still want to use them, won’t protect you from a concussion.

Rowan’s Law Day was named after Rowan Stringer. Rowan loved rugby. A competitive and keen athlete, she was captain of her high school’s team. Tragically, in May 2013, 17-year old Rowan died as the result of head injuries she sustained while playing rugby. In the week before her last game, Rowan was hit twice while playing, likely sustaining a concussion after each blow. Her concussions went unreported, and she continued to play. Rowan suspected something wasn’t right—she texted a friend about her condition and used Google to search for information about concussions. When she was hit again in her final game, Rowan suffered what is known as Second Impact Syndrome—catastrophic swelling caused by a second injury to a brain still healing from previous trauma. Rowan collapsed on the field on May 8, 2013, and died four days later.

In 2015, a coroner’s inquest into Rowan’s death made 49 recommendations for how the governments, school boards and sports organizations should improve the manner in which concussions are managed which paved the way for provincial concussion legislation. Ontario is the first province to have concussion legislation.

Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018 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

* 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

To learn more about concussion safety please visit: york.ca/concussion
Government of Ontario - Rowan’s Law: Concussion Safety


concussion,head injury,sports Rowan’s Law Day has passed, but the message is still important! The Regional Municipality of York en-US News

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