You may be wondering if there is a streamlined and accessible resource to connect your coaches, parents or staff to information and step-by-step actions required so that people are able to navigate the system effectively and efficiently without barriers.
The Government of Ontario’s website on Rowan’s Law: Concussion safety provides detailed information on how all stakeholders can prevent, identify and manage concussions under Rowan’s Law.
Yes! The mandatory Rowan’s Law Concussion Awareness Resources have been tailored for the age/stage of the athletes reviewing them (Ages 10 and Under, Ages 11-14 and Ages 15 and Up).
Additionally, Ophea provides the Rowan’s Law Day Toolkit for Schools to help schools and classrooms recognize Rowan’s Law Day and encourage students to speak up about concussion.
Under Rowan’s all coaches, athletes (under 26 years old), parents of athletes under 18 years old and officials MUST review the approved concussion awareness resources and sign codes of conducts before registering with their sport organization.
Discussing concussions with parents and young athletes at the pre-season meeting is key to set clear expectations and guidelines should a concussion be suspected during the season. This can include reviewing the concussion awareness resources and code of conduct with everyone.
Remind them that a concussion is a serious injury. Most people get better quickly but some people have long-term problems with their memory of how they feel. If you get hurt and don’t feel right, stop playing and make sure to tell a parent, coach, teacher or other adult you trust so they can help.
Coaches in Ontario can be directed to the CAO’s Concussion Toolkit for Coaches for detailed information on Concussions and Rowan’s Law.
All the information you need to know about Concussions
As of July 1st, 2019, sport organizations (as defined under the Act/regulation) must:
As or January 1, 2022, sport organizations (as defined under the Act/regulation) must:
Recreational sport providers must determine if the programs they provide fall within the scope of the Act & Regulation. i.e. “a prescribed activity” as defined in Rowan’s Law.
It is up to the sport organization to ensure that each practice, training or competition has someone who can act in the capacity of the designate. Sport organizations may identify more than one designated person(s). The responsibilities for the designated person(s) may be shared between one or more individuals. If a sport organization has identified more than one designated person(s), it is necessary that each designate is clear about who has what responsibility under the protocols.
Rowan’s Law legislation and regulations do not set out minimum qualifications for individuals who will be identified as designated person(s) under a sport organizations’ removal and return-to-sport protocol. The decision on who to identify as the designated person(s) is up to the sport organization. However, as of January 1, 2022, sport organizations are obligated to receive confirmation from designated person(s) that they have reviewed the Concussion Awareness Resources (in the previous 12 months) prior to serving for the sport organization. Failure to do so would mean the designated person(s) cannot serve.
The Coaches Association of Ontario highly recommends Coaches to complete NCCP Making Headway in Sport and review the Coaches’ Concussion Toolkit if they are the Designated Person.
Complete the NCCP Making Head Way in Sport eLearning module
The Designated Person is obligated to remove an athlete from further training, practice or competition if the athlete is suspected of having a concussion. Athletes should report any symptoms to the designate and can also remove themselves. As well, others, such as parents and team trainers, have made commitments under the Concussion Code of Conduct to support the concussion recognition and reporting process, and communicate information to the designate if they suspect an athlete has sustained a concussion.
Under Rowan’s Law, it is up to the sport organization to ensure that each practice, training or competition has someone who can act in the capacity of the designate. The responsibilities for the designated person(s) may be shared between one or more individuals.
Under the Rule of Two, having only one coach present can be challenging to ensure a safe environment for athletes. Best practice is for two trained and screened coaches be with athletes at all times.
Consult with your sport organization first regarding what documents, templates, or forms you should use in your role as the designated person.
The Coaches’ Concussion Toolkit has resources, tools, and templates you may also find useful. Access to concussion awareness resources and sample templates can also be found on the Government of Ontario’s website on Rowan’s Law: Concussion safety.
The designated person is NOT acting as a physician and NOT making a diagnosis.
Health care professionals acting in volunteer capacity should still expend an appropriate level of care; Good Samaritan Act should apply. No extra insurance coverage related to your career should be required.
Physicians and nurse practitioners are specified as 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.
Sport organizations (as defined under the Act/regulation) must:
It is up to entities and individuals to ensure that they comply with the laws of Ontario.
Sport organizations are encouraged to seek legal advice if they have questions about how to meet their obligations under the law. This includes seeking legal advice on how to move forward to meet their obligations when the obligations interact with their own organizational policies.
The regulation under Rowan’s Law specifies that:
However, the removal and return-to-sport protocols of the Ontario amateur competitive sport competition would apply in the context of competition and therefore would apply to all athletes including non-resident athletes in Ontario, when this requirement came into effect on January 1, 2022.
Ontario sport organizations are required to establish removal and return-to-sport protocols and to follow them as of January 1, 2022.
There is nothing in the Act or the Regulation that states that such protocols do not apply when competing outside of Ontario.
The regulation under Rowan’s Law clarifies that an out of province sport organization (i.e., a corporation that is not incorporated in Ontario), that holds a competition in Ontario, does not have to comply with concussion awareness and code of conduct requirements under the Act.
However, the out of province sport organization would be required to establish and comply with the requirements for the removal and return-to-sport protocols under the Act when hosting a competition in Ontario when this requirement came into effect on January 1, 2022.
If an NSO is a corporation that is incorporated in Ontario, it is required to comply with Rowan’s Law in full.
The purpose of this legislation is to promote change and make participation in amateur competitive sport safer. There are no enforcement or monitoring provisions in Rowan’s Law.
It is up to entities and individuals to ensure that they comply with the laws of Ontario. If organizations does not comply with the laws of Ontario, then the organization assumes any risk associated with non-compliance.
The Ministry of Education has a concussion policy (PPM 158: School Board Policies on Concussion) for school boards, school authorities and Provincial and Demonstration schools.
This policy was updated by the Ministry of Education to be consistent with Rowan’s Law, and new requirements came into effect on January 31, 2020.
Effective January 31, 2020, all school boards were required to establish:
The Ministry of Education considers the Ophea Concussion Protocol outlined in the Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education (previously called the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines) to be the minimum standard for risk management practices related to concussion. Minimum does not refer to minimal safety standards but to the minimum requirements for safety standards that must be followed in all school and school board activities.
Concussions can occur in ANY sport, however, the incidence/risk levels vary from sport to sport. For example, a rower could be struck by an oar and sustain a concussion. Low risk sports can be appropriate activities for those returning from a suspected concussion. Coaches should consult their Return to Sport Protocol to determine which activities would be considered appropriate.
Baseline testing is not mandated by Rowan’s Law. We direct coaches to review Parachute’s Statement on Concussion Baseline Testing in Canada (2018).