Brockton to implement concussion awareness policy

·2 min read

BROCKTON – The municipality will be adopting a concussion awareness policy for all municipally operated recreation facilities and programs.

“We talked about this at length at our committee … it made sense. I think it’s great,” said Coun. James Lang.

Council heard a report prepared by Shalyn Swan, programming co-ordinator, and Mark Coleman, director of community services, at the July 12 meeting.

Rowan’s Law on concussion safety, passed in 2018, was intended to enhance safe sport in Ontario through concussion prevention and management.

On July 1, 2019, new rules came into effect in this province regarding concussions. Athletes under 26 years of age, parents of athletes under 18, coaches, team trainers and officials need to follow the new rules.

Additional rules came into effect on Jan. 1, 2021, requiring sports organizations to put protocols in place on removal from sport and return to sport, to improve concussion safety.

As stated in the report, “Everyone has a role to play in preventing, identifying and managing concussions. The impact of concussions in sport is increasingly seen as a significant issue and we encourage all sport organizations to support concussion safety.”

For the safety of participants in recreational programs, staff drafted a policy to ensure employees are aware of common signs and symptoms of concussion and are trained to properly manage a potential concussion incident.

The draft policy was prepared using the Municipal Concussion Policy Tool Kit – Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU).

Sports organizations will be provided with information on this policy but it doesn’t apply to third party rentals or programs.

The GBHU tool kit defines a concussion as “a traumatic brain injury that may be caused by either a direct blow to the head, face, neck or by a blow elsewhere on the body with an impulsive force transmitted to the head (e.g., a blow to the head because of a fall or while playing a sport). This causes a short-lived impairment of brain function, which can result in a variety of signs and symptoms that may differ from person to person. Impairment typically resolves spontaneously; however, in some cases, signs and symptoms may be prolonged.”

Concussions represent 21 per cent of treated injuries among students in Ontario.

The GBHU tool kit further states, “The top four activities responsible for concussions and brain injuries in Canadian male children ages 5-9 years include playground equipment, ice hockey, children’s active games (e.g., hide and seek, tag, Red Rover) and soccer. For females ages 5-9 years, the top activities are playground equipment, sledding/tobogganing, children’s active games and bicycling (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2017). Injuries related to participation in sports, physical activity and recreation account for 64 per cent of hospital emergency department visits among 10-18-year-olds (Government of Canada, 2016).”

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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