Benefits of Play
Engaging in sport and play-related activities carries with it significant benefits for children, families and communities. Play allows children and youth of all ages to try new things, test boundaries, learn from their mistakes and, perhaps most importantly, enjoy being active.
Removal from Play
While it is not possible to prevent all play-related injuries, our actions can significantly reduce the scope and severity of injury-related complications.
Where concussion is concerned, we now know that when a child or youth shows any symptoms or signs of concussion, s/he should be immediately removed from play. The individual should also not return to play until evaluation by a licensed health care provider has occured.
The phrase, “When in doubt, sit them out!” refers to a temporal period of time following a concussive injury when the risk for re-injury is increased. The child/youth should not be left alone after being removed from play, and signs and symptoms must be monitored over time for change.
If after 24-48 hours no signs or symptoms appear, the child or youth can return to normal activity but should be monitored for several days. If no signs or symptoms appear, chances are that a concussion was not sustained. If unsure, a medical opinion is recommended.
Canada's first concussion safety legislation (i.e. Rowan’s Law) aims to promote public awareness of concussion. Specifically, this new law recognizes the potential for catastrophic outcomes when a child or youth is allowed to return to play after an initial head injury or while recoverying (still experiencing symptoms) from a prior concussion.
Seventeen year-old Ottawa high school student, Rowan Stringer, died in 2013 from Second Impact Syndrome, a rare concussive injury. While Rowan was playing rugby, she sustained a traumatic brain injury, and not knowing she had a concussion, returned to play.
On May 8, 2013, several days after her initial injury, she was knocked unconscious in a rugby game that would be her last. Rowan's Law, passed in Ontario in June 2018, represents the first concussion safety legislation in Canada.
"When in doubt, sit them out!"