September 28 is Rowan’s Law Day, named for Rowan Stringer, a high school Rugby player from Ottawa, Ontario, who died in 2013 from a condition known as second impact syndrome, having suffered multiple concussions within a short space of time whilst playing Rugby.
Rowan’s Law Day, passed in 2018 by the Ontario Government, honours her memory and aims to bring awareness and encourage education on concussion safety and management. To help raise awareness, you are encouraged to wear purple on September 28.
Concussion prevention, management and increased education remains a key strategic priority for BC Rugby. Here is how you can get involved and stay informed:
REMEMBER: RECOGNIZE & REMOVE
BC Rugby’s number one priority is player safety. We adhere to World Rugby’s policy of ‘Recognise and Remove’ when dealing with concussions or suspected concussions. Any player suspected or suffering from concussion should be immediately removed from the training session or match, and not permitted to return until they have completed a full Return to Play Protocol and cleared by a physician.
If in doubt, sit them out.
During a Rugby game, the Match Official has absolute authority to remove a player if they suspect the player is suffering from concussion. However, this is a failsafe protocol, as the responsibility lies with the Coach of that player to act in the player’s best interests and remove them from the field.
But how do you recognize concussion? What are the signs?
If any of the following signs or symptoms are present following an injury the player should be suspected of having a concussion and immediately removed from play or training.
Any one or more of the following visual clues indicate a concussion:
- Dazed, blank or vacant look
- Lying motionless on ground/slow to get up
- Unsteady on feet/balance problems or falling over/incoordination
- Loss of consciousness or responsiveness
- Confused/not aware of plays or events
- Grabbing/clutching of head
- Seizure (fits)
- More emotional/irritable than normal for that person
Presence of any one or more of the following signs and symptoms may suggest a concussion:
- Mental clouding, confusion or feeling slowed down
- Visual problems
- Nausea or vomiting
- Drowsiness/feeling like ‘in a fog’/difficultly concentrating
- ‘Pressure in head’
- Sensitivity to light or noise
HOW CAN I HELP RAISE AWARENESS?
There are several free resources available to help improve concussion awareness, management and education:
TAKE A COURSE
Anyone on or around the Rugby pitch has a responsibility to be aware of the symptoms of concussion and are encouraged to annually complete World Rugby’s online Concussion Management module to learn more. Further concussion guidance can be found here.
We also strongly encourage parents, guardians, partners or housemates of Rugby players to complete the online module to stay informed.
Additionally, you can take World Rugby’s Rugby Ready Course. Everybody involved in organising and playing Rugby has a duty of care in relation to the players. The Rugby Ready programme is intended to raise awareness of good practice and help stakeholders manage the inherent risks of a contact sport by putting appropriate safeguards in place.
DOWNLOAD THE APP
FURTHER READING & RESOURCES
Click on the titles below to further expand your concussion awareness knowledge:
Rugby Canada Playsmart: Rugby Canada PlaySmart is a Player Welfare program that aims to educate players, parents, coaches, match officials and administrators on the safety of rugby across Canada.
Rowan’s Law Day: Learn more about Rowan’s Law Day and how you can participate and help spread the word about concussion safety.
BC Rugby SafeSport: Safe Sport includes physical and mental well-being, as well as your or your child’s personal safety and inclusion. BC Rugby is committed to leading by example, treating all individuals with respect and consideration, and providing an organisation, community and environment that is welcoming, safe, and supportive for all Individuals to enjoy Rugby.
Healthlink BC Concussion Information: A concussion can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Learn how to prevent concussion, identify signs and treat concussion.
SportMedBC Directory of Practitioners: The SportMed Directory of Practitioners identifies sport medicine and sport science practitioners who have achieved additional qualifications in sports medicine as outlined by their respective professional colleges or associations
BC Rugby Teams Up With SHRed For Concussion Study
Recently, BC Rugby teamed up with the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit (BCIRPU) and SHRed to encourage players to enroll in the SHRed Concussions Study.
BCIRPU is the BC site for the SHRed Concussions Study, a Canada-wide study studying concussions in high school athletes to better understand this traumatic brain injury in this population and improve prevention, diagnosis, and management. SHRed Concussions is funded by the National Football League Scientific Advisory Board and is led by Dr. Carolyn Emery at the University of Calgary.
Even though a concussion can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time, it’s well-known that athletes are at risk of concussion while playing sports. A recent BCIRPU survey found that 53% of people who reported having a concussion in their lifetime got one while playing sports.
In mid-September, the SHRed Mobile, the mobile research lab, visited BC and parked pitch-side to enroll BC Rugby players in the study. As the governing body of Rugby in BC, we are proud to partner with the SHRed Concussions Study.
“Player safety and well-being is our key priority as a sport organization, and a core pillar within our Strategic Plan. We expect that this comprehensive research will provide more valuable information into the prevention and management of injuries which will be beneficial to athletes, coaches, therapists, and officials.” BC Rugby CEO David Newson
To read the full story, click here.
To enroll in the SHRed Concussions study, contact email@example.com.