Rowans Law Phase 1
On July 1, 2019, new rules came into effect through the Province of Ontario’s Rowan’s Law, to improve concussion safety in amateur competitive sport.
Rowan’s Law was named for Rowan Stringer, a high school rugby player from Ottawa, who died in the spring of 2013 from a condition known as second impact syndrome (swelling of the brain caused by a subsequent injury that occurred before a previous injury healed). Rowan is believed to have experienced three concussions over six days while playing rugby. She had a concussion but didn’t know her brain needed time to heal. Neither did her parents, teachers or coaches.
What does this law mean for us as parents and skaters?
All athletes under 26 and parents of athletes under 18 years of age must confirm that they have reviewed the Government of Ontario Concussion Awareness Resources below and Skate Ontario’s Concussion Code of Conduct for Athletes and Parents/Guardians as soon as possible:
Government of Ontario Concussion Awareness Resources – Rowan’s Law E-booklet:
Skaters under 18 must sign their form as well as their parent.
PreCanSkate and CanSkate level skaters are exempt from this requirement as per the Law's exclusion provision:
Activities focused primarily on the development of fundamental movement or sport skills and that are not focused on competition are exempt, and sport organizations are not required to obtain confirmation from athletes and their parents respecting their confirmation on the review of the Concussion Awareness Resources and the sport organization’s Concussion Code of Conduct for the registration of those activities.
Rowans Law Phase 2
As of January 1, 2022, the second phase of Rowan's Law came into effect. A sports organization must immediately remove an athlete from further training, practice, or competition if the athlete has sustained a concussion or is suspected of having sustained a concussion, in accordance with the removal-from-sport and return-to-sport protocols. Physicians and nurse practitioners are the only health care providers that can medically assess and provide confirmation of medical clearance for athletes to return to participation in amateur competitive sport.
Rowan’s law is intended to enhance safe sport in Ontario through concussion prevention and management. Coaches along with Star Skaters and their parents are required to sign the Code of Conduct annually during registration.