Rowan’s Law: Information for health care providers
Learn about certain provisions under Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018, that came into effect on January 1, 2022.
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About Rowan’s Law
- On March 7, 2018, new legislation called Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018, was enacted, setting out a framework for concussion prevention, detection, and management within amateur competitive sport.
- 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 includes requirements for the removal from and return to sport, which came into effect on January 1, 2022.
- Athletes who have sustained a concussion, or are suspected of having sustained a concussion, must be removed from further training, practice, or competition (and cannot return to full participation in amateur competitive sport) until:
- medically assessed
- cleared to return to training, practice or competition by a physician or nurse practitioner
- Amendments to the Education Act requires school boards, school authorities, and provincial and demonstration schools in Ontario to have concussion policies in place that are consistent with Rowan’s Law and include similar removal and return requirements for interschool sports. These requirements have been in effect since January 2020 and were an expectation under the previous Ministry of Education policy since January 2015.
What this means for health care providers
- Under Rowan’s Law, physicians and nurse practitioners are specified as the only health care providers to medically assess and provide confirmation of medical clearance for athletes to return to unrestricted participation in amateur competitive sport.
- As a result, physicians and nurse practitioners could see an increase in suspected concussion cases and an increase in requests for documentation.
- It is important to note that Rowan’s Law does not specify the type of confirmation needed to demonstrate that a diagnosis and/or medical clearance has been received from an athlete’s physician or nurse practitioner. However, some sport organizations and school boards may choose to request a medical clearance note before allowing an athlete/student to return to amateur competitive or interschool sport.
- It is the responsibility of the athlete/student (or parent/guardian if the athlete/student is under 18 years of age) to provide confirmation to the sport organization (in accordance with the requirements of the organization’s return-to-sport protocol) or school board.
- Please see Appendix A for existing resources and supports that can be leveraged to support health care providers in navigating this legislation.
Additional considerations for health care providers
- Concussion management can be complex and often necessitates a multidisciplinary approach, with regular follow-up through the continuum of care, starting from diagnosis, through treatment and management, to clearance.
- Physicians/nurse practitioners should follow the current best practices for concussion management.
- Physicians should submit the diagnostic code for a concussion (850) when submitting claims to OHIP for services provided relating to concussion assessment and management.
- The ministry will provide updates as appropriate to ensure that health care providers are kept up to date on the status of the implementation of the legislation and how it involves health care providers in Ontario.
- Information on the removal and return to sports requirements under Rowan’s Law in section 5 of the regulation
- Information on concussion safety for the education sector
- Information and updates on Rowan’s Law
Appendix A: existing resources to support health care providers
Berlin Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport (PDF)
Holland Bloorview Concussion Handbook (for children)
Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation:
|Living Guideline for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion|
Parachute Canada (various resources)