Rowan Stringer's brain wasn't healed from previous concussions, surgeon says
Stringer, 17, died in 2013 after multiple head injuries, called Second Impact Syndrome
Rowan Stringer's brain was not healed and had not rested properly from two previous concussions when she suffered a serious and ultimately fatal head blow, a surgeon told the coroner's inquest today.
- LIVE BLOG: Follow latest testimony from coroner's inquest
- Rowan Stringer failed road test badly days before death
- Rowan Stringer ignored concussion symptoms in days before death
Stringer, 17, died on May 12, 2013, after suffering multiple head injuries while playing high school rugby.
The John McCrae Secondary School student had stayed awake for a few moments after sitting up from the hit, then fell unconscious. She was taken to hospital where doctors tried unsuccessfully to relieve the pressure in her head.
She would die from Second Impact Syndrome, where a pre-existing injury followed by another head blow can cause death. Stringer had been tackled hard during a game four days before, hitting her head and neck on the ground.
Stringer's injury 'rare and quite severe'
Dr. Michael Vassilyadi, testifying Thursday, began describing his efforts at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, where he tried to save Stringer's life.
Vassilyadi said Stringer's brain had not healed or rested from the previous two concussions over less than a week, leaving a "rare and quite severe" head injury.
Stringer is the only case of Second Impact Syndrome that Vassilyadi has witnessed, he added.
Vassilyadi said she would have been on ventilation and using feeding tubes if she survived. Her parents then made the difficult decision to remove Stringer's organs for donation, as she had previously wanted, he said.
Paramedic said he couldn't relieve swelling
Earlier Thursday paramedic Martin Tessier testified he could not relieve the swelling in Stringer's brain at the field and said she read very poorly on the Glasgow Coma test.
At the end of his testimony, Rowan Stringer's father Gordon stood up and thanked Tessier for trying to save his daughter's life. Stringer said he and his wife had waited a long time to express their gratitude.
"We never had a face or a name to that person," he said. "It was something we always wanted to do and this was the chance, and it had to done."
Mom pushes for concussion education
Earlier in the week, the inquest heard testimony from the teen's friend Matt James, her mother Kathleen Stringer, as well as a driving test administrator and high school teacher.
Kathleen Stringer said she does not want children to be scared away from rugby due to her daughter's death, but instead she wants mandatory concussion lessons as early as Grade 9.
Driving test administrator Walter Kuiper also told the inquest Rowan Stringer made several errors in judgment during her road test, which was taken after she had suffered serious head blows. The errors included driving too close to cars, being slow to react, passing too closely and driving in the middle of the road.
Hebert testified she received texts from Stringer brushing off any head injury concerns before her final game, including, "nothing would stop me unless I'm dead" and "what's some brain damage gonna hurt."
Larabie fought back tears as she testified that Stringer took pride in her injuries, calling them "warrior wounds."
The inquest into Stringer's death is examining the circumstances surrounding her death, including areas of head injury recognition in high school field sports. The jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths.
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