Ottawa

Fallen rugby player remembered at tournament

A teenaged rugby player who passed away on Sunday is being honoured at a local tournament this weekend, with organizers hoping they can educate players about safety.

Safety advice to be shared with young players

High school rugby players say they're more mindful of safety after the death of a peer. 2:19

A teenaged rugby player who passed away on Sunday is being honoured at a local tournament this weekend, with organizers hoping they can educate players about safety.

Rowan Stringer, 17, died after suffering a severe head injury in a game last week. Following a hard tackle, she fell into a coma and was taken off life support a few days later.

Players at this weekend’s high school tournament are honouring her memory by wearing purple arm and head bands and signing a book of condolences.

Rowan Stringer, 17, died Sunday night after a suffering a severe head injury during a rugby game last week. (Twitter)

Organizer Alexx Zoryk, who just finished her rookie year with the University of Ottawa’s rugby team, said they’ll be teaching players to recognize the signs of a head injury.

"They’re young and learning the sport, we figured it would be great to know this information if anything was to ever happen," she said.

Phil Holmes, coach at Philomen Wright High School, said rugby is a safe sport but can benefit from more awareness.

"Especially when you’re coaching young people, [it’s important] for them to understand it’s okay to be injured, it’s okay to tell a coach that something’s happened and you’re not feeling 100 per cent," he said.

There's also renewed interest about head protection in the form of "scrum caps", although players are often reluctant to change their equipment unless they're forced to.

"It's a lot like what happened in hockey, when you introduce equipment the players will probably be a little bit less respectful, hold a little less back," said referee Stuart Smith.

The only piece of protective equipment high school players are required to have is a mouthguard.

No players were wearing scrum caps at this tournament on Friday .

Player with head injury done for weekend

One player on Friday said she bumped her head during a game and won’t be playing the rest of the weekend because of what happened to Stringer.

"I was tackling the girl and I fell on the wrong side, so I think she fell on my head," said Ilgi Yildirim.

"As soon as I started running, I was just not feeling good, and when I stopped running it was like a really bad earthquake, I got dizzy."

Yildirim said she feels sad about being on the sideline, but she understands why she’s being held out.

"I think it's made everyone just a little bit more cautious," said player Parisa Yazdani.

A wake for Stringer was held Friday afternoon, with a memorial service scheduled for Saturday.