British Columbia

Ontario's proposed youth concussion law should be adopted in B.C.: doctor

B.C. needs a concussion law for youth sports like a new one that was recently passed in Ontario, says a Vancouver doctor.

Rules followed in B.C. vary from sport to sport, says Vancouver Whitecaps physician

A proposed law in Ontario would provide education and guidance regarding concussions in youth sports. (CBC)

B.C. needs a concussion law for youth sports like a one that was recently proposed in Ontario, says a Vancouver doctor. 

Ontario is on track introduce the first concussion legislation in Canada for young athletes in the wake of a teenage rugby player's death. 

"I would certainly encourage our legislators to look at what they're doing in Ontario and bring it in here," Dr. Jim Bovard, chief medical officer for the Vancouver Whitecaps. 

"Why wouldn't we do it? I can't think of a good reason."

B.C.'s Dr. Jim Bovard says he would welcome a concussion law for youth sports like the one proposed in Ontario. (CBC)

Bovard said currently in B.C., it's up to each sports league to decide how to deal with concussions, with Hockey Canada being one of the most proactive organizations.

"But it's not mandatory, so it's from organization to organization. And how thorough they are ensuring that their coaches, parents and athletes are aware of the issues is not completely determined," he said. 

A new concussion legislation would hopefully lead to a broader awareness and training on how to diagnose and treat concussions, said Bovard.  

But overall, he said he's encouraged by discussion Ontario's law has prompted. 

"The conversation that it's starting to elicit already is excellent," said Bovard.

"The more we talk about it, the more people are are going to know that it's an issue, and hopefully that will prompt them to learn more about it."

Hockey vastly different: dad

Vancouverite Darren Sutherland has a son, Aiden, who plays hockey.

He said he's noticed more awareness of concussion issues since he played hockey when he was growing up in Nova Scotia.

Hockey dad Darren Sutherland says he's seen much more awareness of concussions since he played the sport when he was growing up. (CBC)

'It's vastly ... different than it was," he said.

Sutherland said he hopes to see more research conducted to help prevent concussions before they develop.

"As we collect more data, we'll have a better idea," he said. "I hope that preventative equipment will improve."

But for now, his focus is on making sure his son enjoys the game as much as he did at his age.

"Most of all, I'm just trying to keep hockey fun for him," he said.

Concussion symptoms

Dr. Bovard said although concussions can happen quickly, their symptoms can take a while to manifest.

Here are some to watch out for following a blow to the head:

  • ringing in ears
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • headaches
  • loss of balance
  • confusion

If you experience or see any of these symptoms, Bovard recommends seeking attention from a coach or a parent for an assessment.

With files from Megan Batchelor

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