'Rowan's Pitch' dedicated to memory of young rugby player
'Rowan's Law' expected to pass at Queen's Park on Tuesday
A Barrhaven rugby field was officially renamed "Rowan's Pitch" in memory of Rowan Stringer, the Ottawa teenager who died in 2013 after suffering multiple head injuries playing high school rugby.
Stringer's parents and former teammates were at Ken Ross Park on Longfields Drive for the field dedication on Saturday, which comes days before new concussions legislation called "Rowan's Law" is expected to pass at Queen's Park.
Stringer's former club, the Barrhaven Scottish Rugby Football Club, said renaming the field was its way of "remembering and honouring" the young athlete, calling her "an incredible rugby player" and "a funny and loving person."
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"She'd have a grin from ear to ear," said Rowan's mother, Kathleen Stringer, following the ceremony.
"She might be a little embarrassed, but she'd still be like, 'Wow, it's named after me.' So I think she'd be very happy. She was still a kid."
'A long road' for Rowan's family
Rowan's father, Gord Stringer, said the field dedication comes at the end of "a long road" for the family.
On Tuesday, "Rowan's Law" is expected to pass with unanimous support in Ontario's legislature.
Last year, a coroner's inquest revealed Stringer suffered three concussions in less than a week before her death.
"It's been a labour of love, it's part of Rowan's legacy that she'll leave," he said.
'First law in Canada like it'
The new concussion legislation will be the first of its kind in Canada, providing education on sport-related concussions to athletes, coaches and parents.
Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa McLeod, who introduced the "Rowan's Law" with all-party support, was at Ken Ross Park for Saturday's ceremony.
She said the Stringers have become "like family" to her since she first started work on the bill.
"It will be historic in the sense that not only will it be the first law in Canada like it, but also because all three political parties have unanimously endorsed a private member's bill, and that is very rare," McLeod said.