Ontario Recognizes Rowan's Law Day
Province invests over $105,000 in Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada’s Awareness Programs
OTTAWA — Ontario's government is recognizing Rowan's Law Day by investing $105,000 to expand efforts to improve concussion safety across the province.
Today Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, was joined by Gordon Stringer, father of Rowan Stringer, Tim Fleiszer from the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada (CLFC), and other concussion safety advocates to announce that Ontario is partnering with CLFC to support prevention, education and awareness events across the province.
"Through a lot of hard work, determination and grassroots support, we have come together as a province — one community to change the culture of amateur sport," said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. "Rowan's passing was both tragic and unfair — but it did bring out the best in Ontario to prevent similar tragedies in the future. That's why we are so pleased to add the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada as a key partner in our efforts to improve concussion safety."
The funding will support community concussion symposiums; camps to teach kids how to engage in proper body contact in soccer, hockey, football and lacrosse; and seminars on university campuses.
"Together, we can make Ontario's approach to brain injuries a model for the rest of Canada to follow. We are extremely thankful to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and in particular to Minister MacLeod for her long-standing advocacy work," said Tim Fleiszer.
"Change starts in our communities by encouraging our kids to speak up if they suspect one of their teammates or classmates has a concussion. This important investment in our work will prove advantageous and cost effective for Ontarians, by preventing catastrophic injuries before they happen. This is Rowan's legacy."
Rowan's Law (Concussion Safety) was passed with unanimous support in the Ontario Legislature in March 2018. As part of the law, the last Wednesday in September is considered "Rowan's Law Day" in honour of the memory of Rowan Stringer, a 17-year-old Ottawa rugby player who died in spring 2013 from a condition known as Second Impact Syndrome (catastrophic swelling of the brain).
"The promulgation of Rowan's Law in July 2018 was a culmination of the work of so many people who were, and are, passionate about concussion education, prevention, treatment, management and research. We were so very fortunate to have such a group, I call them Rowan's Team, come together to support and drive us to where we are today, and to continue to push us forward," said Gordon Stringer. "We are so grateful that Rowan's Law will be the cornerstone of her legacy, and our ambition now is to have this grow beyond Ontario, to all of Canada. Rowan's death was preventable, so let's make sure we do all we can to ensure that no other person in Canada dies from Second Impact Syndrome, and that those who become concussed are recognized, removed, and are promptly and properly treated, and managed to recovery."
Anthem Sports & Entertainment will match the government's $105,000 investment with a donation, digital support and a partners' challenge gift equal to the ministry's contribution.
"Anthem is proud to support the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada," said Leonard Asper, President and CEO of Anthem Sports & Entertainment. "Lives will be improved through CLFC's important awareness programs and research. Their leadership on this critical issue is inspiring to all of us."
Through video, print, and social media, Ontario is changing the conversation about how concussions are handled. The goal is to encourage coaches, parents and players to stop celebrating the "warriors" who jump back in the game too soon after a concussion — and instead recognize the serious brain injuries that concussions represent, and the time required to treat them.
"By educating Ontarians about concussion safety, the Ontario government is making real progress towards reducing the number of concussions and helping to make sure that tragedies like Rowan Stringer's will not happen again," said Eric Lindros, NHL Hockey Hall of Fame Member. "I am proud to be part of the Rowan's Law Concussion Working Group and to be working alongside Lisa MacLeod to champion this important work."
"It's our top priority to keep students healthy and safe at school and in the schoolyard," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. "That is why it's so important for students, parents, educators and coaches to learn how to prevent, identify and manage concussions. Our government has taken further steps by developing concussion policies for school boards and new learning in the curriculum that will help keep our students safe."
"To our fellow Canadians, follow our example — take action and adopt this legislation. By working together, we can change the culture surrounding concussions, and make the sport sector safer for all amateur athletes," said Minister MacLeod. "We'll honour Rowan Stringer's memory by continuing the momentum we started in June 2015 to improve concussion safety across the province and the country."
- As of July 1, 2019, athletes, parents, coaches, team trainers and officials will be required to review the concussion awareness resources and their sport organization’s concussion code of conduct, where applicable.
- The highest rates of concussion in Ontario are found among children and youth under the age of 18.
- Ontario students who report a head injury are more than twice as likely to report very high emotional distress and less success in academics.
- Show your support for #RowansLawDay through a tweet, Facebook or Instagram post.