Sports-Related Concussions among Children

If your kid is involved in sports, you must be aware about sports-related concussions among children.

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury which is usually caused by a blow to the head. Symptoms may include headaches, trouble with thinking, memory or concentration, nausea, blurry vision, sleep disturbances, mood changes and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination. Some symptoms may begin immediately, while others may appear days after the accident.

Treatment generally involves physical and cognitive rest for a day or two, with a gradual return to activities. Prolonged periods of rest may worsen outcomes. Physiotherapy may be useful for persistent balance problems while cognitive behavioral therapy may be useful for mood changes

Protective equipment such as headgear has been found to reduce the number of concussions in athletes.

Rowan’s Concussion Law Day

The first Rowan’s Law Day is September 26, 2018. In honour of the memory of Rowan Stringer, “Rowan’s Law Day” is commemorated on the last Wednesday in September to raise awareness about concussions in sport.

Rowan Stringer was a 17-year old Ottawa varsity rugby player who died from sustaining multiple concussions resulting in a catastrophic swelling of the brain. Rowan had three head injuries within 6 days while playing rugby. She was concussed and did not know it. Her parents, teachers and coaches did not know that she was concussed and her brain needed time to heal.

On March 7, 2018, Ontario passed Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018 and related amendments to the Education Act. This new legislation, which received all-party support, is intended to protect amateur athletes by improving concussion safety on the field and at school.

Marking Rowan’s Concussion Law Day, Ontario’s Government is making sports safer for kids by developing a multimedia campaign that will raise awareness about concussion safety.

“Reducing the risk of concussions is always the goal. But concussions happen and knowing what to do – whether you’re an athlete, a parent, a coach or a teacher – can save lives,” said Sylvia Jones, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “We’ll honour Rowan Stringer’s memory by launching a province-wide multimedia campaign to raise awareness about concussion safety.”

Concussions represent nearly a quarter of Ontario student injuries treated by a doctor or nurse. Ontario students who report a head injury are more than twice as likely to report very high emotional distress and to report less success in academics.

“Ontario is a world leader in concussion safety and is the first jurisdiction in Canada to pass concussion safety legislation. On Rowan’s Concussion Law Day, we intend to raise awareness about concussions so that our young athletes can have fun and be safe. I am pleased that our new government is carrying on with the work that was started in 2015,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services.

If there are young athletes in your family, having extended health insurance is a must.


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