Concussion Protocol for Athletes

concussion protocol

I was reminded recently of a new law created a few years ago proposing a concussion protocol or code of conduct to protect athletes. Rowan’s law was established here in Ontario, Canada after she (Rowan Stringer) died in 2013 due to injuries sustained from several concussions while playing rugby. She was just 17 at the time.

Rowan’s Law for Concussion Protocol

Rowan’s Law requires:

that all coaches and team trainers review the government-approved Concussion Awareness Resources every year before serving in a sport organization or at a school. The legislation applies to sport organizations (as defined under the Act), which could include: public and private sport clubs. post-secondary institutions. municipalities throughout Ontario. Rowan’s Law is applicable to 65 sports in Ontario as well as educational institutions. In summary; From July 1 2019, all sports must have in place Concussion Code of Conducts for players/parents and coaches/trainers.

Coaches Association of Ontario

Second Impact Syndrome, AKA Repetitive Head Injury Syndrome

Second Impact Syndrome or Repetitive Head Injury Syndrome is defined as:

Second impact syndrome (SIS), also known as repetitive head injury syndrome, describes a condition in which individual experiences a second head injury before complete recovery from an initial head injury.

National Library of Medicine

This SIS is actually what Rowan Stringer died from. Two concussion-worthy hits within a short time frame (five days) while playing high school rugby. Apparently, she did not share her symptoms with either her parents or her coaching staff. She just wanted to play. Unfortunately, this is much too common amongst ambitious, talented athletes. At what point do the athletes themselves get to decide if they are “OK” or not? Especially those under the age of eighteen like Rowan was. Incredibly, her parents turned their anguish and grief into some progress in this area with the creation of Rowan’s Law.

concussion protocol
Rowan Stringer

Miami Dolphins Upset Buffalo Bills

Professional sports teams have concussion protocols in place, at least they are supposed to. How strict they are is suspicious. If you were watching the Miami Dolphins beat the Buffalo Bills last weekend, you know what I mean. Miami’s quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa sustained injuries causing him to stumble repeatedly after the play. Although his injuries appeared to be concussion-related, he was quick to tell everyone the injury was to his back:

“On the quarterback sneak, I kind of got my legs caught under someone and then they were trying to push back and then kind of felt like I hyperextended my back or something,” Tagovailoa said after Sunday’s game, per All Dolphins. “And then on the next play I kind of hit my back and then I got back up and then that’s kind of like why I stumbled. My back kind of locked up on me. But for the most part, you know, I’m good, past whatever concussion protocol they had.”

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins QB

The NFLPA (NFL players association) is investigating Tua’s results of Miami’s concussion protocol that was passed quickly enough for Tua to return to the game to close out the unexpected win, handing the Bills their first loss of the season.

Conclusions for Concussion Protocols

As a hockey and soccer mom, I know concussion protocols have been in place for years. On some teams. of course, there is always room for improvement.

Hopefully, Rowan’s Law and stricter concussion protocols on all teams will educate players, parents, and coaches/trainers/team owners about the dangers of playing at all costs.

As well, Dolphin fans are hopeful that Tua did indeed pass Miami’s concussion protocol and his injuries won’t prevent him from playing tonight’s game.

Update on Tua

Ironically, Tua was stretchered off the field during the game last night, a mere few hours after I posted this article about concussions. For what? Concussion-like injuries after another hit. Coincidence? I think not. Is this another case of Second Impact Syndrome?

For Tua’s sake, not to mention Miami Dolphin management and coaching staff, I hope not!

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