New Policy Requires Concussion Education in Ontario Schools

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Not long ago, we discussed a new school curriculum in the Halston district that teaches students how to recognize and manage concussions. The unique program has since been widely praised as a step in the right direction toward protecting young people from brain injury.

Now Gluckstein Lawyers are pleased to announce that concussion education programs will be required of every school board in Ontario at the end of January 2015.

The requirement comes from the Ontario Ministry of Education's Policy/Program Memorandum No. 158 (PPM 158). In effect, the policy will require all 72 Ontario school boards to establish plans for teaching students, coaches, teachers and parents how to deal with concussions in a school setting. Dr. Charles Tator, who helped form the policy, estimated that in a province as large as Ontario, tens of thousands of students suffer concussions at school.

The policy will not require coaches and teachers to diagnose concussions, but coaches and teachers are expected to remove a student from play, for example, if a concussion is suspected. A medical professional can then examine the student and provide a diagnosis.

While PPM 158 specifically relates to dealing with concussions in schools, the same principles of education and recognition should apply in out-of-school activities such as hockey and football. Adolescents' brains are very susceptible to trauma that could have long-term effects, and this new policy is a welcome development in helping ensure that kids have a happy and healthy future.

No other Canadian province currently has a policy like PPM 158, and it is hoped that other provinces will follow Ontario's lead.



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