Honouring Rowan’s Stringer’s Memory by Raising Awareness of Sports Safety Across the Country

by The Standard | October 1st, 2020 Podcast

NEPEAN: The Ontario government will lead a discussion, on the development of a National Concussion Awareness Strategy, at an upcoming meeting of provincial and federal Ministers Responsible for Sport.

Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries returned to Rowan’s Pitch in Ottawa earlier today, to highlight the province’s experience implementing Rowan’s Law, Canada’s first concussion safety legislation. Minister MacLeod was also joined by Tim Fleiszer, a four-time Grey Cup Champion and Executive Director, Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada and Ryan Carey, Invictus Games torch bearer, former Canadian Football League player, and Afghanistan War Veteran.

“All athletes, coaches, players and parents, should know the signs and symptoms of a concussion and when to remove themselves from the game,” said Minister MacLeod. “We have made real, impactful progress towards improving the safety of athletes and addressing the culture of amateur sports in this province. From launching an awareness campaign to implementing concussion protocols in schools, we have a proven, effective approach to concussion safety. It is now time to take this approach across Canada.”

Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018, was passed with unanimous support in the Ontario Legislature, in March 2018. As part of the law, the last Wednesday in September is “Rowan’s Law Day” in honour of the memory of Rowan Stringer, a 17-year-old Ottawa rugby player who died, in the spring of 2013, from a condition known as Second Impact Syndrome (catastrophic swelling of the brain). This year, Rowan’s Law Day was recognized on September 30th.

“The unanimous passage of Rowan’s Law at Queens Park in 2018 was a very special moment for Kathleen and I, another milestone in our journey after Rowan’s death. This year marks the third Rowan’s Law Day in Ontario, we have seen the marked improvements in concussion awareness and education in the first year, [and] the increased requirements on sports organizations for concussion protocols and codes of conduct in the second year,” said Gordon Stringer, father of Rowan Stringer. “Now we look forward to an increased focus on healthcare practitioners, providing better supports and educational requirements to those tasked with addressing the multitude of potential issues and challenges faced by those impacted by concussion. Our hope is that what Ontario has done will be replicated across Canada, because in the words of Dr. Charles Tator, ‘Rowan Stringer’s death was preventable.’ We must do whatever we can to ensure that her story is never replicated.”

Through video, print and digital media, Ontario is changing the conversation about how concussions are handled through its award-winning #HitStopSit campaign.