Ottawa

National concussion treatment strategy in works from Carla Qualtrough, Jane Philpott

Canada's ministers of sport and health say they've been asked by the prime minister to work on a national concussion treatment strategy.

Sport minister calls Ontario's Rowan's Law 'a step in the right direction'

Carla Qualtrough, minister of sport and persons with disabilities, is working with Health Minister Jane Philpott on a national concussion treatment strategy. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Canada's ministers of sport and health say they've been asked by the prime minister to work on a national concussion treatment strategy.

In a news release Friday afternoon, Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough said she and Minister of Health Jane Philpott will work together on "a national strategy to raise awareness for parents, coaches and athletes on concussion treatment."

Qualtrough said she wants a "responsible, co-ordinated approach to the treatment of concussions" that will keep athletes safe.

"Together, we will be working with our provincial and territorial colleagues, stakeholders across Canada's sport system and experts from various sectors to develop a harmonized education and management strategy that will lead to concrete action in preventing concussions in sport," she is quoted saying in the release.

Ontario law in works

The announcement comes on the same week Bill 149, also known as "Rowan's Law," was introduced in the Ontario legislature.

The bill, which has the support of Ontario's Liberal, NDP and Progressive Conservative parties, is named after Ottawa rugby player Rowan Stringer, who died in May 2013 after suffering three concussions in a week.

If passed Dec. 10, it would form an advisory committee to review 49 recommendations from the inquest into her death, including education on sport-related concussions to athletes, coaches and parents and making a framework for when to sit an athlete out if a concussion is suspected.

"Rowan's Law… is a step in the right direction," Qualtrough said in the release.

"It builds on work that has been underway with our provincial and territorial colleagues for some time."

During the federal election campaign the Liberals said they would "raise awareness for parents, coaches and athletes on concussion treatment," and the national strategy announced Friday was mentioned in Qualtrough's mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The federal NDP's former sport critics, Glenn Thibeault and Matthew Dubé, both introduced private members bills around national concussion guidelines in the last session of Parliament. The Conservatives also spent $4.3 million in 2013 to help fund 19 research projects on preventing, diagnosing and treating concussions.

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