Community Clubs Rugby

New Ottawa Sport Council concussion initiative flies out of the gate

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Gord and Kathleen Stringer were recognized with the Ottawa Sports Awards’ first Spirit of Sport Award (presented by Martin Cleary) for their courageous efforts to promote concussion awareness, education and treatment initiatives alongside sport participation, in memory of their daughter Rowan, who died after sustaining a concussion in a high school rugby game. File photo

By Rémi Klander

Ottawa continued its leading role in the implementation of Rowan’s Law with the Ottawa Sport Council’s Concussion Education Initiative, which has quickly exceeding its participation goals just 2 months since its launch on Jan. 1.

Now in effect in Ottawa, the latest phase of Rowan’s Law requires sports organizations to develop and enforce Concussion Codes of Conduct for athletes in their programs.

OSC’s new initiative seeks to help sports organizations become Rowan’s Law compliant and enhance their knowledge of what’s known as the “4 R’s” of concussion management – recognize, remove, refer and return.

“We’re educating people on the symptoms. We’re not educating them to become a medical practitioner,” notes OSC executive director Marcia Morris. “We want to prevent any situations that could make (concussions) worse or even (pre- vent people from) recognizing it.”

With funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, OSC’s latest initiative was developed in partnership with the injury prevention charity Parachute Canada and the Sport Information Resource Centre. A key goal was to deliver the resources that are now widely utilized by national sporting bodies down to the grassroots community sport scene.

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“Everybody has got their role to play. Everyone needs to be aware of what’s going on,” underlines Morris. “When in doubt, sit them out.”

OSC originally pledged to train 450 individuals through the initiative, but has already surpassed the 1,000 mark.

”It’s important that diminish the amount of concussions happening in sports, and for that, we need to educate,” signals Morris, encouraging sports organizations to reach out to OSC and sign up to take part in the initiative via .

“Everything you’ll learn in these lessons will help,” Morris adds. “It doesn’t matter how involved you are in community sports, you’ll have the knowledge necessary to help and to prevent a (concussion) case from getting worse because you’ll know what to look for and what to do.”

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