On March 6, 2018 Ontario saw a little-known law passed call Rowan’s Law. (3) As most laws that bear a person’s name in Ontario, this law was passed posthumously.
Rowan Stringer an up and coming rugby player. This registered nursing student in the Ottawa area looked at life joyfully before her untimely death in 2013. A lot of information about concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in 2013 but not much was being done to protect professional athletes never mind amateur athletes.
Because her local Rugby Association did not have a formal policy in place the decision to carry on playing or be pulled from the game rested on the coach and the player themselves. Rowan was sure that she would be fine to play her third game in 5 days after she was initially concussed. That mistake cost her dearly.
Her parents hope that this new law will lead the way for all other provinces with no concussion protocol to use Rowans Law as a template to save their children,
“For us, it would be so devastating and upsetting if another child in Canada were to die the same way. We know that it’s preventable” (5)
Major Sports Teams Respond
The NHL has not recognized the relation between playing professional hockey (2) although they do have a concussion protocol in place.
The MLB started the 7-day DL (disabled list) in 2011 that is now a 10-day DL.
The NFL fought the idea that professional football had any connection to CTE until they lost a lawsuit in 2016. After players sued and won the NFL put in place head injury protocols with defined fines for teams that do not comply.
To make matters worse here are some recently released stats:
What I don’t understand, head injuries as being life threatening was recognized over 100 years ago! Yes, 100 years ago team doctors recognized that a Harvard football players death was due to a head injury in 1906. (1)
Boston University hospital says that 100 of 111 brains of former NFL players that have been examined have CTE. At this time, CTE can only be diagnosed during a post-mortem.