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Concussions pose a serious danger to young athletes in Ontario

Ontario may pass the country's first concussion law in response to the risk of concussions among young athletes.

Ontario provincial legislators are working on a bill, referred to as Rowan's Law, that, if passed, would be the first concussion-related legislation in the country, according to CBC News. The bill was proposed in response to the tragic death of a 17-year-old rugby player in Ottawa who suffered multiple concussions that led to her untimely death. Medical experts point out that while the danger from concussions is increasingly being recognized in professional sports, more needs to be done to educate young athletes, teachers, coaches, and parents about the dangers of head injuries in amateur sports as well.

Rowan's Law

If passed, Rowan's Law would increase education measures for athletes, parents and coaches so that they would be better equipped to recognize the signs of a concussion. The law would also require that students who show signs of a suspected concussion be immediately removed from play. Students who have suffered a concussion would only be allowed to return to play after receiving medical clearance to do so.

If the bill passes it would be the first such concussion-related law in Canada. Many medical experts have voiced their support for the law, noting that while concussions in professional sports - most notably football and hockey - have gained significant media attention in recent years, the risk to youth may be even more severe since young athletes often do not know how to recognize the signs of a concussion.

Concussion risk

In fact, according to Global News, just over 20 percent of Ontario students in Grades 7 through 12 have had a concussion, often as a result of playing sports. Emergency room and doctor's visits related to concussions among school-aged children also increased by 70 percent between 2003 and 2010. Experts, however, say that the true number of concussions in youth is likely higher since many such concussions go unreported.

One of the reasons concussions are so dangerous is because they can be difficult to recognize. A person who suffers a concussion may not initially lose consciousness, for example, which may lead him or her to assume that the injury is not serious enough to seek treatment. Symptoms of a concussion can include disorientation, amnesia, and confusion, along with nausea, dizziness, and headaches. More long-term effects include mood and sleep disorders, along with impaired brain functioning. If left untreated, concussions can lead to death or permanent brain damage.

Personal injury law

Concussions are among the most common types of brain injuries. Despite their prevalence, it is only in recent years that many people have begun to appreciate the very real risk concussions pose. Of course, sports are not the only time a concussion can happen and other accidents, such as a car crash or slipping and falling, can also cause serious head injuries. Anybody who has suffered a concussion or related injury should get in touch with a personal injury lawyer. A qualified lawyer can guide injured victims through the legal options that are available and may be able to assist them in pursuing financial compensation. Contact the attorneys at Bergeron Clifford if you have suffered a brain injury.