The District School Board of Niagara is welcoming the passage of Rowan’s Law as an important step forward in student safety. On March 6, the Ontario Legislature passed the concussion safety legislation, which was developed to protect students and other amateur athletes in the province.
The legislation is named Rowan’s Law in memory of Ottawa student Rowan Stringer who passed away after receiving multiple concussions playing high school rugby.
DSBN Director of Education Warren Hoshizaki served as a member of Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee, established to review the coroner’s inquest recommendations following Rowan’s passing. Hoshizaki said it was significant that all directors of education in Ontario had given the bill their “full support and endorsement.” Director Hoshizaki presented to the standing committee studying the bill prior to its passage, encouraging members to pass Rowan’s Law in its entirety.
Hoshizaki said the law standardizes important practices related to the prevention and management of concussions, and provide schools with more tools to support students. The law also mandates increased concussion education for students, teachers, and coaches.
“Education has a huge role to play in changing the culture around concussions,” said Hoshizaki. “With additional education, students will be more aware of their safety when playing, and more likely to report an injury when it occurs.”
The DSBN has been on the forefront of tackling the issue of concussions since 2014, when the Board first passed its concussion policy. The policy led to the development of education programs for students, staff, and coaches, return to learn and return to play protocols for injured students, and information to support parents.
“We want students to be healthy and active,” said Hoshizaki. “We also want the activities they take part in to be as safe as possible. The intent with Rowan’s Law is to ensure that what happened to Rowan Stringer never happens to another young person in Ontario.”