What All Canadian Sports Organizations Can Learn From Ontario's "Concussion Law"
As detailed at my second site, combatsportslaw.com, Ontario recently passed a ‘concussion law’ which will impact all sports organizations in the Province.
While the law has no bearing outside of Ontario’s borders it’s requirements likely will prove influential instructing the standard of care when personal injury lawsuits are filed alleging negligence against sports organization that fail to take proper measures in response to athlete concussions.
The legislation requires all sports organizations (a term broadly defined) along with coaches and other key personnel involved in the oversight of amateur sport to be familiar with concussions, to implement a concussion protocol discussing when athletes must be removed from play and when concussed athletes are ok to return to play. The law further requires these organizations to educate athletes (and in the case of minors, their parents) about the realities of concussion.
The law does not appear to have any enforcement mechanisms however that does not mean it is meaningless.
This law likely sets the framework that courts would adopt when asked whether sports organizations are negligent when athletes are concussed. If a sports organization anywhere in Canada fails to have meaningful concussion protocols in place and further fails to follow these protocols successful litigation framed in negligence very well may follow.
If you are involved in the oversight of amateur sport becoming familiar with and following the Sport Concussion Guidelines published by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport is a wise idea.