Rowan's Law

June 14, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Rowan’s law is a concussion law created in the memory of Rowan Stringer, a young woman who died at the age of 17. She died of second impact syndrome after sustaining multiple concussions playing rugby. The legislations was jointly supported by all parties in the provincial legislature, and is the first of its kind in Canada.

We have known for some time that with each progressive concussion, injury is more dramatic and longer lasting. This is particularly true for young adults and children whose brains are still developing. Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) occurs when the brain swells rapidly and catastrophically after a person has a second concussion before the symptoms of a previous one have subsided. It is typically seen in athletes and involves who have not recovered fully before returning to sport.

In Rowan’s case she suffered the third of three concussions in May 2013. She had been hit hard only four days before this final concussion. She was playing high school rugby when her head and neck hit the ground. She was initially conscious but slipped into unconsciousness moments after sitting up. She died after four days in the hospital. According to news reports Rowan had failed a driver test days before her fatal concussion. She had followed too closely and failed to react to traffic in a timely manner. She also drove down the centre of the road. The examiner had to stop the test.  Other news reports indicated that Rowan had been ignoring symptoms of the first two concussions.

Rowan’s Law will establish a committee to implement the recommendations set out in the Coroner’s Inquest held after her death. The 39 recommendations are broad but include:

  1. Students and parents will be required to take mandatory concussion awareness and management sessions before students are allowed to take part in ‘high risk’ activities such as rugby and football. These sessions will include how to identify the signs and symptoms of concussion.
  2. The adoption of zero tolerance for head hits and high tackles in sport.
  3. Tracking mechanisms for students to ensure they are receiving proper treatment for their injuries.
  4. The establishment of timelines for students participating in multiple high risk sports for participation to lessen the risk of concussions.
  5. Creating broad awareness campaigns aimed at all Ontario school boards to give constant accurate information to students and coaches about concussion causes, signs, symptoms and treatment.


Posted under Personal Injury, Catastrophic Injury, Concussion Syndrome, Spinal Cord Injury, Treatment

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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