Hit. Stop. Sit.

  1. A concussion is a hit to the head, neck or body that can make your student or athlete feel different.
  2. If you think your student or athlete has a concussion, stop what they are doing so that you can get them the help that they need.
  3. Your student or athlete should sit out of sports and activities where they could get another concussion. They can slowly return to activities like school and sport. There are return-to-activity steps (protocols) that they can follow with your help. You can do this with help from your student or athlete’s medical doctor and healthcare team.

Rowan’s Law

Rowan’s Law was named for Rowan Stringer, a high school rugby player from Ottawa, who died in the spring of 2013 from second impact syndrome. Second impact syndrome is swelling of the brain caused by another brain injury that occurs before a previous brain injury has 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.

This resource is not meant to replace medical advice about your health care. For more information about concussions please speak with a medical doctor or nurse practitioner.

Your Role in Rowan’s Law: How to Support your Student or Athlete

  • Review the Concussion Awareness Resource (Ontario.ca/Concussions) with your student or athlete every year.
  • Sign and follow the Concussion Code of Conduct (Ontario.ca/Concussions) for your student or athlete’s sport or activity.
  • Have your student or athlete immediately stop the activity and tell an adult if they think that they have experienced a concussion. It is important that you help your student or athlete to understand these steps.
  • Removal-from-Activity and Return-to-Activity protocols and/or Return to School Plan (Ontario.ca/Concussions).

How to Recognize a Concussion (Hit)

A concussion is an injury to your student or athlete’s brain. A hit to their head, neck or body can cause a concussion. For example, your student or athlete can get a concussion if they are hit in the head with a ball. They can also get a concussion if they fall down hard onto the floor.

If your student or athlete has a concussion, they may feel different physically or emotionally. They may also feel different with the way that they think or how they sleep.

Any change or difference from usual in how your student or athlete feels or behaves after a hit to their head, neck or body may mean they have a concussion.

Understanding Concussion Symptoms

Common symptoms that your student or athlete may experience after a concussion include:
  • Headache
  • Pressure in the head
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Balance problems
  • Tired or low energy
  • Drowsiness
  • “Don’t feel right”
  • Easily upset or angered
  • Sadness
  • Nervous or anxious
  • Feeling more emotional
  • Not thinking clearly
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Feeling confused (or “in a fog”)
  • Problems concentrating
  • Problems remembering
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Having a hard time falling asleep

If your student or athlete has any of the following symptoms, they may have a more serious injury. Treat these symptoms as an emergency and call 911.

  • Neck pain or tenderness
  • Double vision
  • Weakness or tingling in arms or legs
  • Severe or increasing headache
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Loss of consciousness (knocked out
  • Vomiting more than once
  • Increasingly restless, agitated or aggressive
  • Getting more and more confused

How to Support your Student or Athlete with a Concussion

  1. If you suspect that your student or athlete has a concussion, immediately remove them from activities and sports where they could sustain another concussion.
  2. Make an appointment for your student or athlete to see a medical doctor or nurse practitioner.
  3. Refer to the Parachute resources for more information on managing your student or athlete’s concussion.
  4. Refer to the Return-to-School and Return-to-Sport Plans and work with your student or athlete’s coach, teachers, school principal, and medical team to gradually and safely return to full activity.
  5. These plans will help your student or athlete to gradually re-introduce different activities (e.g., light physical activity, reading, etc.) back into their routines. Your student or athlete is ready to move to the next step of their plan when they can do the activities at their current step without feeling worse or getting new symptoms. If, at any step, their symptoms get worse, they should stop and go back to the previous step.
  6. If your student or athlete’s symptoms do not improve or if they continue to get worse, they should return to their medical doctor or nurse practitioner.

Hit. Stop. Sit.

Government of Ontario
Rowan’s Law: Concussion Safety

Parachute Concussion Resources

Ontario Neurotrauma
Foundation — Children

Ontario Neurotrauma
Foundation — Adults