SMAA “Rowan’s Law” Concussion Policy


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.

In 2018, Rowan’s Law was passed. The Ontario Government has directed sports organizations, schools and health care to focus on the importance of concussion awareness. management and taking a personal pledge to follow specific requirements following a suspected or confirmed concussion.


A concussion is a brain injury. It can’t be seen on X-rays, CT scans or MRIs. It may affect the way a person thinks, feels and acts.

Any blow to the head, face or neck may cause a concussion. A concussion may also be caused by a blow to the body if the force of the blow causes the brain to move around inside the skull. A concussion can happen to anyone – anywhere – including:

  • at home, school or your workplace
  • following a car, bike or pedestrian accident
  • from participating in games, sports or other physical activity

A concussion is a serious injury. While the effects are typically short-term, a concussion can lead to long-lasting symptoms and even long-term effects.

There are many signs and symptoms of a concussion to look out for, including:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • ringing in the ears
  • memory loss
  • nausea
  • light sensitivity
  • drowsiness
  • depression

If you notice signs of a concussion in others or experience any of these symptoms yourself, consult with a physician or nurse practitioner.


In accordance with Rowan’s Law, the Sarnia Minor Athletic Association (SMAA) is required to provide information regarding the Concussion Awareness Resources located at with a participant and parent/guardian before they can participate in a SMAA sport.


I will help prevent concussions through my commitment to:

  • Wearing the proper equipment for my sport and wearing it correctly;
  • Respecting the rules of my sport or activity; and
  • My commitment to fair play and respect for all* (respecting other athletes, coaches, team trainers and officials).

I will care for my and others’ health and safety by taking concussions seriously, and I understand that:

  • A concussion is a brain injury that can have both short- and long-term effects;
  • A blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body that causes the brain to move around inside the skull may cause a concussion; and
  • A person doesn’t need to lose consciousness to have had a concussion.

I will commit to:

  • Report any possible concussion received during participation in the SMAA to a designated person;
  • Recognizing a concussion or possible concussion and reporting to a designated person when an individual suspects that another individual may have sustained a concussion;
  • Sharing any pertinent information regarding incidents of removal from a SMAA sport with the Player’s school and other sports organizations with which the player has registered;
  • Sharing any pertinent information regarding incidents of a concussion that have occurred outside of participation in the SMAA to a designated person with your/individual’s Team;
  • Complete Injury Report Forms in a timely manner and ensure they are submitted to the Member;
  • Give a commitment to providing opportunities before and after each training, practice, and competition to enable participants to discuss potential issues related to concussions; and
  • Maintain an open dialogue with all athletes and participants (and parents/guardians in cases of minors) about their health and any signs and symptoms of concussion, they may experience.       

The Government of Canada offers a Concussion Awareness e-booklet and these e-booklets will help you learn more about concussions so you can keep yourself and others active and safe, whether you’re an athlete, student, parent, coach, official, or educator.

These resources can be found at the following URL:

You can download and print the appropriate age group(s) for reference.

Designated Person / Removal from Sport / Return to Sport 

The Rowan’s Law Removal-from/Return-to-sport requirements came into effect on January 1, 2022. All sporting organizations and schools will be required to have a removal-from/return-to-sport protocol.

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