Rowan’s Law was named for Rowan Stringer, a high school rugby player from Ottawa, who died in the spring of 2013 from a condition known as second impact syndrome (swelling of the brain caused by a subsequent injury that occurred before a previous injury healed). Rowan is believed to have experienced three concussions over six days while playing rugby. She had a concussion but didn’t know her brain needed time to heal. Neither did her parents, teachers or coaches.
Rowan’s Law and Rowan’s Law Day were established to honour her memory and bring awareness to concussions and concussion safety.
On July 1, 2019, new rules came into effect through Rowan’s Law, to improve concussion safety in amateur competitive sport.
If you are an athlete under 26 years of age*, parent of an athlete under 18, coach, team trainer or official and your sport organization has advised that you need to follow the rules of Rowan’s Law you need to:
- review any one of Ontario’s official Concussion Awareness Resources before registering or serving with your sport organization; and
- review your sport organization’s Concussion Code of Conduct that they will provide to you; and
- confirm that you have reviewed both of these resources every year with your sport organization(s)
* Exception: A sport organization that is a University, College of Applies Arts and Technology or other Post-Secondary Institution will be advising athletes of any age that they need to follow the rules of Rowan’s Law.
If you are involved in more than one sport
No matter how many sport organizations you register with in a given year, you are only required to review a Concussion Awareness Resource once within that year. You are however required to confirm your review of a Concussion Awareness Resource with each sport organization with which you register.
You are also required to both review and confirm your review of the Concussion Code of Conduct for each sport organization with which you register.
Additional rules came into effect on January 1, 2021 that require sport organizations to put into place Removal-from-Sport and Return-to-Sport protocols, to improve concussion safety. You may wish to follow-up with your sport organization about their plans for implementing their protocols.
Students and educators in elementary and secondary schools should follow their school board’s concussion policy. School board concussion policies must be updated by January 31, 2020, according to new requirements under the Ministry of Education’s PPM 158: School Board Policies on Concussion, which are consistent with Rowan’s Law. Contact your school for more information.
You can access more information and resources at the Ontario government web site: