Ontario passed Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2017, which is designed to protect amateur athletes and make sport safer. This concussion safety legislation ensures that removal-from-sport and return-to-sport protocols have been created as well as educating teachers and coaches on concussion awareness.
The Rowan’s Law, makes Ontario a leader in concussion management as they are the first Province to pass legislation on the subject. The following are now require for all managed amateur sport teams:
- Annual review of concussion awareness resources that help prevent, identify and manage concussions, which athletes, coaches, educators and parents would be required to review before registering in a sport
- Removal-from-sport and return-to-sport protocols, to ensure that an athlete is immediately removed from sport if they are suspected of having sustained a concussion and giving them the time required to heal properly
- A concussion code of conduct that would set out rules of behaviour to minimize concussions while playing sport.
One great resource is the Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool which is used by FIFA and the National Olympic Committee. Download the Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury caused by the brain moving back in forth within the skull. This brain injury can cause the following signs and symptoms:
- Mechanism of injury – (How did they get injured)
- Sign of a fall or head trauma
- Confusion and dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Memory trouble
- Unequal pupils (pupils do not react to light)
- Skull and scalp bleeding
- Change in level of consciousness or drowsiness
Concussion symptoms can often go unnoticed as they can sometimes be subtle and adrenaline can sometimes hide them. Concussions are often associated with sport but can also come from other sources such as car accidents, a blow directly to the head and falls.
Remember: Concussions can only be diagnosed by a medical doctor or a nurse practitioner. Educators, school staff or volunteers cannot make the diagnosis of concussion.
First Aid for a Concussion
- Leave the person in the position found while assessing their injuries
- Suspected head injuries need to be monitored and should be evaluated by a doctor
- Treat for shock by sitting them down and provide a cool compress for the injured site
- Stabilize the persons head and remind them not to move their head
- Encourage the person to look straight on a fixed location
- If the person is laying on the ground, do not move them unless their breathing is affected
- If there is bleeding from the scalp, apply indirect pressure to the wound
Ongoing Care – Continue to monitor the person’s condition and level of conscious. Take note of these changes as paramedics will want this information.