June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada, a time when medical experts, safety advocates, and brain injury lawyers promote programs and support causes dedicated to brain injury research and education.
Few people in Ontario have done as much as Kathleen and Gordon Stringer to promote awareness of brain injuries and concussions, in particular. In 2013, their 17-year-old daughter, Rowan, died after sustaining multiple head injuries during a short stretch of her high school rugby season. Devastated by the loss, Kathleen and Gordon pushed the Ontario Government to enact legislative changes to protect young athletes from brain injuries. Their efforts resulted in Bill 193 – Rowan’s Law – which came into effect this March.
Rowan’s Law has been lauded by brain injury lawyers and medical experts as a potential blueprint for other provinces. It mandates strict remove-from-play and return-to-play protocols for youth sports leagues, as well as education programs for parents, teachers, and coaches. The goal of the law is to promote awareness, respect, and safety without discouraging young people from participating in sports.
“We don’t ever want the message to be one of having kids running around in bubbles and not doing anything, because there are so many benefits from sports and physical activity,” Gordon Stringer told the Toronto Star. “But when [concussion] does happen, you have to be vigilant and to take the time to ensure they get the care they need.”
Passage of Rowan’s Law was an important first step towards improving safety for Ontario’s young athletes. Now, teachers, parents, coaches, referees, and athletes must work together to ensure the law’s directions are followed. Rowan’s Law made Ontario a national leader in brain injury policy – its effective implementation can make it a leader in brain injury reduction.
“When kids sign up for a sport at the beginning of the year, there will be pre-season meetings,” Dr. Charles Tator, a brain surgeon and director of Toronto Wester Hospital’s Canadian Concussion Centre told the Star. “They will have to sign off that they know something about concussions and that the players are willing to abide by the code of conduct of that sport.”
If you or your child has been injured in an accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of brain injury lawyers can help you understand your legal situation and advise you of your options for recovery.
Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika/U.S. Air Force
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