It could soon be that thousands of young athletes, their parents, and coaches across Ontario will be following “Rowan’s Law.”

A coroner’s inquest into the 2013 death of Ottawa teen Rowan Stringer has resulted in several recommendations. First and foremost is a call to the province to create legislation establishing guidelines to manage concussion injuries in youth sports.

Rowan Stringer was 17 when she died from a brain injury related to multiple concussions from playing high school rugby.

The inquest resulted in 49 separate recommendations to the province, school boards, and various other sports and health organizations.

Rowan’s Law would include four main criteria:

  • Providing education on sport-related concussions to athletes, coaches and parents
  • Removing a child or youth athlete from play if a concussion is suspected
  • Ensuring the child or youth does not return to play until he or she has received medical clearance, and
  • Ensuring appropriate return to learn and return to play strategies are in place

“I think that nothing would make her happier than to find out that she’s helping all the children by bringing in Rowan’s Law,” said her mother, Kathleen Stringer, and the conclusion of the inquest.  

The recommendations are just that. They are not binding on the government or any agency. Rowan’s father says they are pleased with the results, and now comes the next step of working to put the recommendations into action. “We’ve still got to make sure these things get implemented, “says Gordon Stringer. “And we’ll be a part of whatever we need to achieve that.”