It’s about time. Rowan’s Law is here.

Rowan’s Law and Concussion Injury

In a much anticipated move to prevent, detect, manage and understand concussion injury in amateur athletes, the Ontario government introduced Bill 193, Rowan’s Law . The proposed new law is named after Rowan Stringer, a 17-year-old Ottawa-area rugby player who died in 2013 after suffering several concussions.


The past few years have seen a growing awareness of concussion injuries and the deadly impact of returning to sport before these injuries are treated and a concussion injury has healed. This proposed new law will serve as a benchmark for Canada in concussion awareness, prevention, detection and management.

What is required after a concussion injury ?

The bill has a number of key elements that would require athletes, coaches, educators and parents to:

· Conduct an annual review of concussion awareness resources.

· Set out and adhere to a system to ensure that athletes suspected of having a concussion are removed from sport and establish a protocol for their safe return.

· Establish a return-to-sport procedure for athletes who have sustained a concussion, or who are suspected of having sustained a concussion.

To create further awareness, the legislation would also proclaim “Rowan’s Law Day” to be observed on the last Wednesday of September.

Study after study has proven that too many young people experience concussions while participating in organized sports and recreational activities, sometimes with tragic outcomes. This has become a public health issue and with dire consequences.

· 64 per cent of visits to hospital emergency departments among 10-18 year-olds are related to participation in sports, physical activity and recreation.

· Among children and youth (10-18 years) who visit an emergency department for a sports-related head injury, 39 per cent were diagnosed with concussions, while a further 24 per cent were suspected of possible concussions.

· Football, soccer and hockey have all shown a greater than 40% increase in rates of reported head injury (relative to other injuries) between 2004 and 2014 for children and youth.

As a parent and coach, I have been trained to recognize the symptoms of head injuries, but this is not the case with all coaches, teachers, group leaders and parents.

Thankfully, the Ontario government has moved swiftly in introducing this legislation. It is an important first step in changing the way we treat sports injuries and in championing the well-being of amateur athletes.

Is Every Concussion A Children Head Injury ?

Concussion Head Injury 

Sport Concussion

Concussion and traumatic brain injuries affect the way that the brain functions and can lead to long-term impairment. This is especially true for children. As we head into the summer season, kids will start playing of soccer and baseball and will be eager to ride their bikes, scooters and skateboard. With kids on the move, it is important to know the signs of a concussion and how to treat it. A concussion is caused when a child gets a bump, blow or jolt to the head.

Recognize a concussion

Concussions can also be caused by a hit to the body, that causes the head to move back and forth quickly. These sudden, sharp movements can cause the brain to jar or twist in the skull creating chemical changes in the brain and damages to the brain cells, affecting the way they think and remember. The best defense against a head injury or brain injury is to ensure that children always wear the right equipment. Not surprisingly, many concussions happen when the child is not playing team sports in a formal way, but is just playing at home or with friends without their helmets or protective gear. They may be just taking their bike around the block and not feel a need to put on a helmet for a short ride. These are the times that kids must be reminded to always wear a helmet for safety.

Symptoms of a concussion

If your child does suffer a bump to the head, make sure you know that symptoms. A person does not need to be knocked out or to lose consciousness to have a concussion. A child suffering a concussion could seem confused, have a slow reaction time and have difficulty concentrating. Look for headaches, nausea, dizziness and changes in sight. Should you see any of these signs, have your child stop playing right away and don’t leave him alone. Take him to the hospital right away or call 911.

Compensation for Brain Injury and Polytrauma

Traumatic Brain Injury and Polytrauma 

Our lawyers know what is needed to support and compensate for a brain injury.

Our lawyers know what is needed to support and compensate for a brain injury.

As Ottawa personal injury lawyers we see many people suffering from traumatic brain injuries as a result of motor vehicle collisions, trip and falls, medical malpractice, product malfunction, and other incidents. The effects of a brain injury are complex and vary from person to person. Sadly, a brain injury can change your life and livelihood, which is why it is so important to get the right supportive team around you immediately following an accident.

Accident Scenario

Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers assisted a pleasant teenager who suffered a traumatic brain injury and other catastrophic injuries as a result of a very serious motor vehicle collision. She was a passenger in a vehicle that was turning left at an intersection when it was hit by a truck travelling through the intersection. Ordinarily, in this situation, a left-turning vehicle is considered 100% at fault (i.e. liable) meaning that only the left-turning vehicle’s insurance company is responsible for compensating the injured persons. There are, however, certain exceptions to this general rule.

How our Ottawa Injury Lawyers Proceeded 

This was a very serious collision where several occupants in the left-turning vehicle suffered serious injuries. It was very likely that the occupants’ claims combined would exceed the at-fault driver’s $2,000,000 insurance policy. In other words, the left-turning driver’s $2,000,000 policy was insufficient to compensate the injured parties. The only other way to obtain additional insurance funds was to argue that the truck driving straight through the intersection was liable for the accident. This, as noted, is not an easy task as courts often hold that vehicles with a right of way, such as the truck in this case, are not liable for collisions. Our Ottawa injury lawyers however retained an expert in motor vehicle accident reconstruction and analysis, who examined several key witnesses, obtained crucial documents from police and paramedics, and by used leading edge investigative techniques, among other things. Consequently with this information, our personal injury team was able to attach liability to the driver of the truck. Accordingly, our Ottawa personal injury lawyers were able obtain compensation from the driver of the truck as well. This opened up the amount of funds and compensation available to our client.

Compensation For Traumatic Brain Injury and Polytrauma

Our Ottawa lawyers ultimately settled her tort claim for approximately $1,500,000 which will undoubtedly assist her in the future. She also has available to her in the future $1,000,000 in medical and rehabilitation benefits and $1,000,000 for attendant care benefits. 

$3, 500 000 is a lot of money; however this is money that is much needed in this young person’s life and throughout the rest of her life. Our Ottawa injury lawyers were pleased to help her get much needed compensation and the proper medical supports in place.

* Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results and that the amount recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.


Ottawa injury lawyer happy to be sponsoring Ottawa Brain Injury Awareness Day

Sixth Annual Ottawa and Eastern Ontario Brain Injury Awareness Day

Our personal injury lawyers are pleased to once again share that we are again sponsoring this wonderful event aimed at raising awareness, support and funds for people with a brain injury and their families . For the past six years, Vista Centre has organised this event and invited survivors, family members, health care professionals, educators, lawyers and all anyone involved in preventing brain injuries.

Ottawa Brain Injury Lawyers

Our personal injury lawyers are not only sponsoring this event , we will be available throughout the day to answer any questions regarding brain injuries and legal rights.  Thousands of Canadians injure themselves and suffer from a traumatic brain injury each year . Typically, there are more younger adults than older adults who suffer brain injuries.  This means many people with a brain injury have a long life ahead of them; however it is a life that will require support.  Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers are able to help offer this support. When we meet with someone who has been injured in an accident and is suffering from a brain injury, the first thing we do is put as many supports in place to properly diagnose and fully understand the extent of the brain injury. While our clients are focussing on their recovery, we implement a plan for the future.  We understand and have experience with what is required.  We hire our own medical experts to develop a life expectancy plan, we hire professionals to prepare reports to determine what amount of income will be lost throughout the course of an individual’s life time due to their brain injury and we make sure we are thorough in seeking maximum compensation for a brain injury.  Part of the recovery process will be to access programs such as the Ottawa Brain Injury Awareness Day.

When it comes to helping people who are suffering from a brain injury, we are there.  WE understand the complexity of a brain injury and its effects on the individual and their family and friends.  A brain injury is an “invisible injury” with very visible effects.  If you or a loved one is suffering from a brain injury , I urge you to visit the Brain Injury Association of Canada’s website as well as the Brain Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley’s website .  If you need us for free legal advice, we are here for you. Let our Ottawa personal injury lawyers help you with your brain injury .

Ottawa Brain Injury Awareness Day

Ottawa Brain Injury Awareness Day

Concussion symptoms and treatment for concussions. Did you know a concussion can last for up to 2 years ?

Ottawa Brain Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth  .

The Ottawa Citizen reported on a study recently done through CHEO and Dr Vassilyadi that looked at the after effects of concussions in children.  It described a story of a  boy named Clayton Carter who suffered a traumatic brain injury while riding an ATV and was able to return to hockey, school and a regular life within four months.  There are many remarkable things about Clayton’s story. Firstly the fact that he was so severely injured and could have died and was then  rushed by helicopter to CHEO and had his brain and skull operated on.  He survived and had an amazing recovery in a very short time frame.  Claydon’s speedy recovery with a severe head injury is remarkable.

Dr. Vassilyadi reported to the Ottawa Citizen that Clayton’s recovery was better than many children who suffer a concussion. Dr Vassilyadi is just finishing a study that looks at youths between  11 and 17 who have had a sports-related concussion and still have symptoms at least three months later. In the Ottawa area there have been close to 60 patients who are still suffering from their concussion 3 months later.

There are many more who suffer concussions. In fact, close to 900 children and youth are rushed to  CHEO’s emergency department yearly with a suspected concussion. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, depression, sleeping too much or not enough and declining performance at school. In general, close to 90 % of concussions clear up within  10 days of the impact. Dr. Vassilyadi and his team at CHEO noted that not all parents are aware of the symptoms of concussions, so it’s tough to track what your child may be going through. Often times, parents, coaches and teachers don’t equate a child’s change in academic performance to a concussion but Dr. Vassilyadi noted that it’s entirely possible. The emotional, social and cognitive symptoms are tough to  pick up on and often persist over three months for up to 2 years. CHEO conducted a research project last year “The Concussion Research Project” and found that young patients described their quality of life at almost the same level as undergoing chemotherapy. Dr. Vassilyadi also noted that there is a common misconception that there has to be a loss of consciousness in a concussion and this is simply not true. Early recognition is key to properly treating a concussion.

Unfortunately the treatment for a concussion isn’t always obvious either. Nutrition and rehydration are critical and in most rest, even if that means not returning to school or work. After a head injury, the brain needs to rest and mental stress needs to be avoided. This means eliminating video games, television, reading, texting and getting plenty of rest.

Concussion symptoms and concussion treatments are very tough to recognize which is why concussions still remain a tricky area for parents, coaches and teachers. It’s critically important to be aware of your child’s moods, fatigue, and overall feelings and “When in doubt, sit them out,”. It’s not worth the risk because a second or third head injury will be worse. Dr. Vassilyadi is speaking to physicians on Monday night about a new clinic to be opened this fall by Pro Physio & Sports Medicine Centres, which will draw on the services of sports physicians, a neuropsychologist and physiotherapists specifically trained to assess and treat concussions. The owner of the clinics, Mr. Salib focused on concussions because of the large need to properly treat concussions .

As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer with many clients who are suffering from concussions and brain injuries, I am so thankful that our community is developing more resources that relate to concussions and head injuries. I have many clients who are suffering so severely from a concussion, they are unable to return to work, be comfortable around their families for extended lengths of time and their concussion has changed their lives and the lives of their families.  The more research and resources that help us with concussion treatments the better, I say !


Robert Wein and the Conquer Acquired Brain Injury inspiration for us all..

Conquer Acquired Brain Injury Walk

There aren’t many people who can forget the terrible accident that injured 5 cyclists in Kanata. Well, I can share something wonderful that has occurred as a result of that accident: The Conquer Acquired Brain Injury Walk in Ottawa organised by Robert Wein.  Robert Wein has been such an inspiration to many  after he was hit when he was cycling on March Road in Kanata on July 19, 2009 . Robert suffered serious personal injuries including a serious brain injury.  Originally, doctors said he had only a 50%  chance of surviving, and would not likely walk or cycle again. Robert beat those odds and has been on the road to recovery ever since. His story is an incredible table of someone not giving up and persevering through life’s challenges.

I had the pleasure of meeting Robert shortly after his accident and was so impressed with his determination. Sure enough, Robert Wein has been steadily progressing ever since and has even started riding again. He rides a recumbent three-wheeler. His hard work and determination is paying off. He regularly sees a personal trainer , physiotherapist and is constantly working on his recovery with a goal  to walk without the walker one day.  The way things are going for Robert, I bet he will.

Today  he organised and is leading  130 people in a two-kilometre walk at Andrew Haydon Park. The walk is called Conquer Acquired Brain Injury Walk and the money raised will support  Pathways to Independence, an organization which provides housing and programs to those with brain injuries.

I admire Robert Wein and his determination. What an inspiration to not only people with a brain injury but to everyone ! Good luck today to Robert and everyone participating in what is sure to be an excellent annual event: the Conquer Acquired Brain Injury Walk.


Ottawa injury lawyer discusses concussions in children and the signs, symptoms of a concussion.

Ottawa Head Injury Lawyer on concussions in children.

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. With spring sports in full force, the incidence of child concussions is on the rise.   Head injuries in athletes during mainly sports; however children can also suffer serious concussions  from colliding with another child during play, car accidents and bicycle accidents and even minor falls. Typically children can recover from a concussion within a week or two without lasting health problems if they treat the concussion in a timely manner and properly by following certain precautions and taking a break from activities.

The severity of a concussion can be  determined by how long signs and symptoms can last and therefore  are only known when recovery has taken place. The longer the symptoms persist,  the more severe the concussions. More severe concussions or  undiagnosed concussions can cause brain damage or disability.

Treating a concussion is difficult and vague.  First and foremost, if you have a concussion or you think your child may have a concussion, you need to seek professional medical help immediately. One thing for sure is to REST. Anyone suffering a concussion needs  to remove themselves of any activities that could cause stress on the brain and try to avoid any sudden movements, impacts etc.

We know that the brain is made of soft tissue and is surrounded by spinal fluid, which is protected by our skulls.  Our brains  move around inside our skulls and can bang against our skulls. When the brain bangs against our skulls,  for example, due to a fall on a sidewalk or a whiplash-type of injury — it can be bruised, blood vessels are torn, and the nerves inside our brain become damaged. These injuries can lead to a concussion. There are many signs and symptoms of a concussion.

In a previous post I outlined the most common signs and symptoms of a concussion . Typically most concussion symptoms may appear initially and  develop over the first 24-72 hours.  Children can experience  the same concussion symptoms as older kids and even as adults. This is why it is imperative to have treatment for a concussion as soon as possible after the injury has occurred. If your child is sleepy, let them sleep; however , call 9-1-1 immediately after a head injury if your child can’t be woken up.

Most concussions in children will heal quickly however some symptoms including memory loss, headaches, and problems with concentration  may linger for several weeks or even months.  As a parent or caregiver, it’s critical to watch for these symptoms and contact your doctor if they persist. A concussion injury is not to be taken lightly and must be treated properly. If in doubt contact a doctor or qualified health professional immediately. If your concussion is from a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

Hockey Canada bans bodychecking in minor hockey in hopes of reducing concussions and head injuries.

 Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth reflects on minor hockey and body checking

.As a father of 3 children in minor hockey and as an Ottawa personal injury lawyer I am torn with Hockey’ Canada’s decision to ban bodychecking in minor hockey for 11 and 12 year olds. Here is why. The National Council of Hockey Canada voted to ban all bodychecking in minor hockey for 11 and 12 year old children  for obvious safety reasons. The incidence of child head injuries and concussions in sports is on the rise. Can we change the rules and reduce the incidence of concussions in young hockey players?  Probably and that is obviously what the National Council of Hockey Canada is trying to do.  The controversy is whether or not this is the right thing to do.

Some would argue it is not. Some believe that the difference between 11-year-old  (first-year peewee) and a 14-year-old (second-year bantam) hitting one another is what should be looked at. They believe that the impact caused by two 11 year olds hitting one another is significantly less and that if players are taught how to give and receive body checks properly before most of them are physically large enough to do real damage, it will reduce head injuries and concussions. Some believe that this is  throwing our 14 year old hockey players into a dangerous situation, as they learn to hit and take a hit at a time in their lives when their bodies are changing, growing and full of testosterone. On the other hand, allowing the brain to develop and settle for two more years before a potentially dangerous “hit” is something to think about and I believe is very important.

To prepare for this situation, Hockey Canada has introduced mandatory bodychecking training programs for novice (ages nine and 10), as well as for peewee. It only banned bodychecking from games. Some would argue that this is not realistic and that nothing teaches a kid to  hit and receive a hit as much as a real life bodycheck in a  game.

The question remains does delaying the onset of checking until bantam, when players are bigger, stronger and faster actually increase  injuries and head traumas at the bantam level or does it reduce such injuries at peewee ?

Does Hockey Canada’s decision move the problem up by 2 years and make it worse ? It’s a tough call. As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, unfortunately I  meet regularly with people who have suffered a serious brain injury and concussions from accidents and sports and I have to say if there are any steps we can take to reduce these head injuries, I want to. My eldest is 10 years old , so part of me is breathing a sigh of relief; however it also has me very nervous for him in 2 years time.

I’d love to hear your opinion. What do you think of  Hockey Canada’s decision to ban bodychecking in minor hockey for 11 and 12 year olds ?


Tragic death of rugby player Rowan Stringer hopes to bring education on the signs and signals of a concussion or brain injury. Do you know what to look for?

Ottawa Child Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth .

The very tragic death of young Rowan Stringer has left the Ottawa community with great sadness.   Rowan attended  John McCrae Secondary School student in Ottawa and was the captain of the rugby team when she died from a severe head injury during a rugby game last Wednesday. Rowan Stringer was an avid rugby player and played on several different rugby teams.

It was reported that Rowan was  tackled hard during the rugby game on Wednesday, flew into the air and hit her head and neck on the ground. Upon impact, Rowan was awake, sat up but quickly fell  unconscious. Sadly, she didn’t wake up. She remained unconscious for days while medical team worked at relieving the pressure in her head and then on Sunday, her family made the most difficult decision of their lives. Rowan was taken to hospital, where doctors tried unsuccessfully to relieve the pressure in her head but there was too much pressure and the decision was made to discontinue life support.

Rowan’s parents, Gordon and Kathleen Stringer, told CBC News that their daughter had been complaining of headaches the week before and that she’d been hit in the head in a game the week before the fatal tackle.  Then, just 2 days before the fatal injury, she was once again  hit in the head during a rugby game.  She didn’t report this second hit to her parents. The doctors are now investigating whether or not she may have suffered a smaller head injury that may have some impact on the fatal head injury.

Sadly, Rowan is now gone and she can’t be brought back. Her family is hoping that her death will  help educate others on the signs and signals of brain injuries. Her organs have been donated to help save the lives of others. What an amazing thing for this family to have done after going through such a terrible tragedy.

The question now is could Rowan’s death possibly save lives in the future? I hope so and so does her family. The hope is that there will be more education as it relates to head injuries, concussions and sports. Rowan’s death has been widely publicized . The hope now is that all this publicity may save another  life. As a Ottawa personal injury lawyer who helps people with severe concussions and brain injuries, I believe it is vital that we talk to our kids, coaches, teachers, caregivers, friends about the signs and symptoms of concussions.  Our children and athletes need to know what to be looking for and to know to tell someone.  I believe that if we really educate our athletes and their families, we can help reduce the number of deaths and further injuries.

Unfortunately, concussions are fairly common and can range in severity. It is estimated that a concussion or  mild brain trauma is sustained every 21 seconds. The signs of a concussion so you can take the proper steps to treat the injury. The signs of a concussion also vary , which is why it is often difficult to determine if someone is suffering form a concussion or not. The following is not a comprehensive list, but does describe some of the

symptoms one might have if they are suffering a concussion:

  • confused or dazed
  • clumsy
  • slurring speech
  • nausea or vomiting
  • headaches
  • off balance or dizzy
  • blurred vision
  • sensitive to light and noise
  • sluggishness
  • ears ringing
  • changes in personality or changes in behaviour
  • difficulty concentrating
  • loss of memory

There are many more signs; however these seem to be the most common. As a Ottawa personal injury lawyer and as a father of 3 children involved in sports, I urge you to talk about concussions, what to expect and what to do.  It could very well save a life. Rowan’s death is so incredibly sad and tragic that we owe it to her and her family to do everything we can to teach others about the signs and symptoms of a concussion. My thoughts go out to Rowan’s family and friends and this very tragic and difficult time.


Ottawa lawyer David Hollingsworth supporting Brain Injury Awareness Day for fourth year in a row.

David Hollingsworth supports Vista Centre Brain Injury Services

I’m please to share with you that we are once again be supporting  the 5th annual Vista Centre Brain Injury Service’s Annual Brain Injury Awareness Day for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. The Vista Centre Brain Injury Services is inviting all brain injury survivors, family members of people who have suffered a brain injury, healthcare professionals,  educators, lawyers  or who is interested in brain injury prevention and rehabilitation . The event will run professionally led workshops, an information resource fair, keynote address by former Olympic equestrian athlete, and brain injury survivor, Dr. Claire Smith. There is NO COST to attend this wonderful event, however space is limited. If you wish to attend, please email or call 613.234.4747 to reserve your space.

Topics include:
  • Neural Plasticity: Encouraging the Brain to Change
  • Results of a Multi-Center Randomized Control
  • Trial using Mindfulness-Based Cognitive
  • Therapy for TBI to Treat Depression
  • A Proactive Approach to Aggressive Behavior Management
  • KEYNOTE speaker Paul Nadler “Braindamadj’d”

The Annual Brain Injury Awareness Day takes place Wednesday • June 12, 2013 at the Hampton Inn and Conference Centre, which is located at 200 Coventry Road, Ottawa

Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers will be there and we hope to see you there. Please stop by our table and say hello. We have been supporting the Brain Injury Awareness Day for several years now and are proud to be involved with such a great organisation. VCBIS’s mandate is to provide lifelong support to people with acquired brain injuries . They focus on a Community-Based Living Model, a  model that focuses on each client living within their community, accessing  services, both of a professional and supportive and services of a personal nature. VCBIS’ assists people in overcoming  impairments within their environment and in their own community.

If you have been affected by a brain injury or know someone who has the Vista Centre Brain Injury Services can help. If you can attend the Brain Injury Awareness Day, I highly recommend it.