LIVING

Ontario Concussion Law: Government Seeks Legislation On Head Injuries In Schools

03/07/2012 09:38 EST
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

There's no such thing as 'shaking it off' when it comes to concussion prevention, the province of Ontario has determined. The McGuinty government introduced a bill this week that plans to see schools taking a holistic approach to healing after a concussion is incurred in sports. The legislation, the first of its kind in Canada, plans to offer education on the effects and impacts of concussion not just on the playing field, but in the classroom as well.

The Education Amendment Act (Concussions) comes at a significant moment -- hockey's golden star and captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, has just been cleared for contact after almost 14 months away from playing in full. The symptoms of his head injury brought the topic into the limelight, and the numbers are there to back up the proposed bill as well. Since 2003-04, emergency room visits for concussions have increased by 58 per cent in Ontario, while in 2010-11, more than 7,500 children visited the emergency room for a concussion, said McGuinty in the government press release.

"Building awareness on concussion prevention and treatment will play an important role in preventing more serious injuries down the road, while creating an improved understanding among parents, coaches and children alike," said Drew Laskoski, President of the Ontario Athletic Therapist Association, in a press release.

A similar law, introduced as a private members' bill last November, has been proposed in British Columbia, wherein young athletes would need parental permission and medical clearance to get back in the game.

But Ontarians will have and see just when this bill comes into being, if at all. "In the minority [government] context, we look forward to working with the opposition on this," a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education told the Huffington Post Canada. "It's important legislation and we think they realize that as well. It's just too soon to put a timeline on it."