What is Rowan's Law?

What is Rowan's Law?

Concussions, a form of traumatic brain injury, have emerged as a major concern in sports and school environments due to their potential long-term impacts on individuals' health. Acknowledging the severity of this issue, the Canadian government introduced Rowan's Law, a groundbreaking legislation aiming to enhance concussion awareness among coaches and team trainers.

The law mandates that all individuals serving in sport organizations or schools must review government-approved Concussion Awareness Resources annually. These resources encompass crucial information about the nature of concussions, common signs and symptoms, and play a pivotal role in fostering a safer and more informed sporting environment. In this blog post, we look at the the significance of Rowan's Law and its potential implications on the overall health and well-being of athletes and students.

Who is Rowan Stringer?

Rowan Stringer was a 17-year-old rugby player from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Tragically, she suffered multiple concussions while playing the sport, and the repeated head injuries led to her death. In May 2013, Rowan sustained a concussion during a high school rugby game. Despite this injury, she continued to play without proper medical attention or adequate recovery time. Only a few days later, she suffered another head injury during a subsequent game.

Read about Rowan Stringer: Click here

Rowan did not disclose her previous concussion to her coaches, and the subsequent impact proved to be fatal. On May 12, 2013, she collapsed during a rugby match and was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition. Tragically, she died a few days later, on May 13, 2013.

Rowan's untimely death highlighted the critical need for increased concussion awareness, education, and safety protocols in sports organizations and schools. In response to this devastating event, Rowan's parents, Gordon and Kathleen Stringer, worked tirelessly to advocate for concussion awareness and prevention.

The efforts of the Stringer family, along with the increasing concern about concussions in sports, culminated in the passing of Rowan's Law in Ontario, Canada, in March 2018. This law aims to protect the well-being of athletes and students by ensuring that coaches, educators, and parents are educated about concussions and their potential consequences. It also emphasizes the importance of early detection, proper management, and a gradual return-to-play process for individuals who suffer concussions.


When is Rowan's Law Day?

Rowan's Law Day is the last Wednesday of September each year. Here are the dates until 2030.

2023: Wednesday 27 September
2024: Wednesday 25 September
2025: Wednesday 24 September
2026: Wednesday 30 September
2027: Wednesday 29 September
2028: Wednesday 27 September
2029: Wednesday 26 September
2030: Wednesday 25 September

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a sudden impact or blow to the head or body, resulting in the brain's temporary dysfunction. Despite being classified as "mild," concussions can have severe consequences if not managed properly. Rowan's Law emphasizes the need for coaches and team trainers to comprehend the nature of concussions fully. By understanding the mechanics behind this injury, they can make informed decisions during gameplay and respond promptly to any signs of possible concussion in athletes.

Common Signs and Symptoms of a Conscussion

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion is crucial to ensuring that affected individuals receive appropriate medical attention and care. The Concussion Awareness Resources mandated by Rowan's Law provide comprehensive details on the typical indicators of a concussion. These may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, memory problems, sensitivity to light or noise, and changes in mood or behaviour. By being well-versed in these signs, coaches and team trainers can quickly identify potential concussions and take the necessary steps to protect the well-being of the affected athlete.

Impact of Concussions on Athletes and Students

Concussions can have a profound impact on an athlete's physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. Failing to address concussions properly can lead to prolonged recovery periods and even permanent damage. Rowan's Law recognizes the importance of safeguarding athletes and students from the potential consequences of undiagnosed or mishandled concussions. By mandating concussion awareness training, the law promotes a proactive approach to protecting the health of those involved in sports and schools.

Objectives of Rowan's Law

One of the primary objectives of Rowan's Law is to foster a safer sporting environment by encouraging preventive measures and prompt response to concussions. Coaches and team trainers play a pivotal role in achieving this goal. Armed with the knowledge from the government-approved resources, they can implement strategies to minimize the risk of concussions during practices and competitions. Additionally, they can educate athletes and students about the importance of reporting any head injuries promptly, ensuring that potential concussions are not overlooked or downplayed.

Raising Awareness Beyond Sports

While Rowan's Law primarily targets sports organizations, its impact goes beyond the athletic sphere. Many schools have adopted this legislation as part of their safety protocols, recognizing that concussions can also occur during non-sporting activities such as physical education classes or playground games. By extending concussion awareness to the school environment, educators and staff can provide a safer and more informed experience for all students.

Parents' Role in Concussion Awareness

Rowan's Law emphasizes the essential role parents and guardians play in supporting concussion awareness efforts. They are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Concussion Awareness Resources and engage in open communication with coaches, trainers, and school staff. By working collaboratively, parents can ensure that their children's health and safety are prioritized both on and off the field.

Rowan's Law in Canada

While there is no specific nationwide celebration associated with Rowan's Law, students and athletes across Canada can still actively participate in promoting its principles and raising awareness about concussion safety in various ways. Here are some ways students may celebrate or support Rowan's Law:

  1. Participate in Concussion Awareness Programs: Schools and sports organizations may host concussion awareness programs and workshops where students can learn about the signs, symptoms, and importance of reporting head injuries. Students can actively engage in these programs to gain knowledge and become ambassadors for concussion safety.

  2. Wear a Purple T-Shirt 
    The last Wednesday of every September is designated as Rowan's Law Day to honour Rowan Stringer's memory and raise awareness about concussion safety. Students at many school are asked to wear a purple t-shirt to commemorate Rowan and to support and improve on concussion awareness.

  3. Spread Awareness: Students can take the initiative to spread awareness about Rowan's Law and concussion safety among their peers, teachers, coaches, and parents. They can organize awareness campaigns, create posters, or share information on social media platforms to reach a broader audience.
  4. Support Teammates: Encouraging a culture of safety within sports teams is essential. Students can support their teammates by reminding them to report any head injuries and encouraging them to follow the concussion protocol set forth by their school or sports organization.
  5. Engage in Safe Practices: Students can lead by example and practice safe techniques and sportsmanship during physical activities. By showing a commitment to safe play, they contribute to a safer sports environment for everyone involved.
  6. Promote Helmet Safety: For sports that involve helmets, students can promote the importance of wearing helmets correctly and ensuring they are well-fitted. Proper helmet use is crucial in reducing the risk of head injuries.
  7. Join School Safety Committees: Some schools may have safety committees or student-led initiatives focused on health and well-being. Students can join these committees and advocate for the implementation of safety measures in line with Rowan's Law.
  8. Organize Fundraisers: Students can organize fundraisers to support organizations dedicated to concussion research and awareness. By raising funds for such causes, they actively contribute to ongoing efforts to improve concussion prevention and management.
  9. Write Articles or Blogs: Students interested in writing can create articles or blog posts about Rowan's Law and concussion safety. Publishing these pieces on school websites or local newspapers can help educate a broader audience.
  10. Seek Professional Development: Students aspiring to be coaches or team trainers can proactively seek professional development opportunities related to concussion awareness and safety. This ensures they are well-prepared to fulfill the requirements set forth by Rowan's Law when they take up coaching roles.

It's important to note that the specific ways students celebrate Rowan's Law may vary depending on their school, community, and individual interests. The key is to promote a culture of safety, awareness, and responsibility when it comes to concussions, both in sports and everyday life.

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