Shifting the culture around concussion
It was the belief that she could shake it off and get back in the game that ended 17-year-old Rowan Stringer’s life. She died after being hit in the head twice in less than a week while playing high school rugby. Her parents Gord and Kathleen Stringer tell their story to a sold-out crowd of 700 athletes, coaches, parents and community members today at See the Line, Western University’s annual event focused on concussion research, education and awareness.
Now in its fourth year, Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry is proud to host See the Line in an effort to shift the culture around concussion in sport so tragedies like Rowan’s never happen again.
“Knowledge is power,” said Dr. Michael Strong, Dean, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, and Scientist at Robarts Research Institute. “The more that people understand the grave consequences of concussion injuries, the more likely they are to remove themselves from play when they suspect they have had a concussive event.”
The afternoon symposium features highlights from cutting-edge concussion research, a panel discussion including Rowan’s parents, and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and See the Line Honorary Chair Eric Lindros. The symposium will also celebrate the passage of Rowan’s Law with an address from Lisa MacLeod, MPP Nepean-Carleton, who put forward the private member’s bill for establishing new concussion protocols in Ontario.
“One of the first people in the medical community that I reached out to when I decided to take on Rowan’s Law as a private members bill, was Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry Dean, Dr. Michael Strong,” said MacLeod. “It’s natural that this year at See the Line we celebrate the passage of Rowan’s Law because right from the beginning it was this University in London, Ontario that stepped up to the plate.”
The day-long event is presented in partnership with London Health Sciences Foundation and the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, as well as London’s hospitals, research institutes, and the faculties of Health Sciences and Engineering at Western.
The keynote speaker for the Symposium is Dr. Douglas Smith, Director of the Centre for Brain Injury and Repair and professor of neurosurgery at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
The panel discussion includes Eric Lindros, retired NHL hockey player, 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and See the Line Honorary Chair; Gordon and Kathleen Stringer, parents to Rowan Stringer, advocates for Rowan’s Law; Greg Wojt, retired CFL offensive lineman, Edmonton Eskimos, Grey Cup Champion, two-time CFL All-Star; Allie Fischer, local basketball player, athletic career sidelined due to multiple concussions; Robin Bone, Canadian pole vaulter, three-time CIS Champion, four-time OUA Champion, 2016 FWP Jones Trophy winner, Western University; Tyler Varga, former running back, Western University, Yale University and NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, OUA Rookie of the Year, CIS National Freshman of the Year, three-time All-Ivy honoree, 2014 Offensive Player of the Year, 2015 Ivy League Player of the Year, retired from the NFL on July 26 at age 22.