With summer coming into full swing and the nice weather finally arriving, many of us are eager to start being active outside. Unfortunately, because COVID-19 has derailed most social gatherings, playing team sports has had to be placed on the backburner for the time being. Once we can reach a point when we can all start playing sports again, it is important to take into consideration the implications of engaging in activities that require a large amount of physical movement and contact. One of the worst outcomes that can arise from playing team sports is suffering a concussion. A concussion is a very serious brain injury that occurs when the head suffers from blunt force from being tackled, punched, hit or kicked. Even a simple slip and fall to the ground can result in a concussion. You do not have to lose consciousness to have a concussion, although that can certainly result after suffering from one. However, the majority of the time, loss of consciousness does not result when a concussion occurs. Symptoms of a concussion can include:
- ringing in the ears
- memory loss
- light sensitivity
Last summer, new legislation came into effect called Rowan’s Law. The Province of Ontario was prompted to introduce this after a tragic incident whereby a young athlete, who was playing high school rugby, suffered multiple concussions over a short period of time and sadly died.
According to the Government of Ontario’s website, the newly implemented Rowan’s Law requires 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.[ii]
These rules came into effect on July 1, 2019.
Ontario’s Concussion Awareness Resources can be found here:
Of course at the time of its enactment, little did we know how much the world would change one year later and that most of us would not be engaging in any team sports for the time being. But it is comforting to know that this new legislation will continue to be in place once life returns back to normal and we can all enjoy playing team sports in a safe manner that hopefully will prevent serious brain injuries such as concussions that have, unfortunately, been far too common in the past.
For more information about Rowan’s Law and Concussion Safety please visit: