Concussions

On March 7, 2018, the Ontario government enacted Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018, and amended the Education Act, to protect amateur athletes, including students, by improving concussion safety on the field and at school. The amendments to the Education Act came into force on July 1, 2019, and give the Minister of Education the authority to require school boards to comply with policy and guidelines on concussions, consistent with Rowan’s Law. With the authority under the Education Act, the Minister of Education requires all school boards in Ontario to have a policy on concussion safety for students that meets certain minimum requirements, as outlined in the updated Policy/Program Memorandum No. 158: School Board Policies on Concussion (2019) which comes into effect on January 31, 2020. Until that time, school boards may continue to use their existing concussion policy and refer to the current version of PPM 158. The Ministry of Education considers the Ophea concussion protocol outlined in the Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education (previously called the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines) to be the minimum standard for risk management practices related to concussion. Minimum does not refer to minimal safety standards but to the minimum requirements for safety standards that must be followed in all school and school board activities.

The concussion protocol is based on Parachute's Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport and the Berlin Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport, and has been developed by Ophea in partnership with Parachute.

School boards may localize the components of the concussion protocol, to meet the specific needs of their school district, keeping in mind that they can raise the minimum standards but cannot lower the standards. Although it is important to be familiar with the Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education Concussion Protocol, educators must ensure that they use their own board’s concussion protocol.

The Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education Concussion Protocol is a living resource. Concussion information and procedures for the components of prevention, identification and Return to School Plan are always evolving with new research and consensus guidelines. In order to keep users current with information and procedures the Concussion Protocol will be reviewed and revised where necessary. School boards and users of the Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education Concussion Protocol are advised to return to consult safety.ophea.net every September for the current Ontario Physical Activity Safety Standards in Education Concussion Protocol. Where revisions are of a critical nature, Ophea will inform its users through electronic notification.

Note: The "Management Component: Procedures for diagnosed concussion" (or "Management Plan" from PPM 158 (2014)) has been reworded in PPM 158 (2019) to "Return to School Plan".

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