June 25, 1995 - May 12, 2013
By Gordon Stringer
Rowan was 17 years old and in Grade 12 (Senior) when she passed away following a concussion received during a rugby match for her high school team. A Coroners Inquest into her death held in May of 2015 concluded that she died from Second Impact Syndrome and had likely suffered two previous concussions in two games during the five days preceding the match where she suffered the fatal injury.
Rowan was captain of her high school team and also played for the Barrhaven Scottish RFC. She played ringette, soccer, flag football, lacrosse and was also a keen snowboarder. She had been accepted into Ottawa University to study to become a Registered Nurse.
Her death and the results of the Inquest spurred her family to campaign for "Rowan's Law" in Ontario. The law, the first of it's kind in Canada, came in to force on September 9, 2016.
"With the attention being paid to head injuries in sports, I want to do my part to make football safer. I feel a responsibility to give back to the game of football that has given me so much. If donating my brain can help other players that are struggling with symptoms or if I can help make the game safer for future generations, it is an easy decision." - Hebert, 2017 East Region Most Outstanding Defensive Player
“As I transition to being an ambassador for hockey in my retirement, I am determined to leave hockey better and safer. Steve Montador was a friend, and when he was diagnosed with CTE after his death in 2015, I became inspired to do my part to fight this disease. By pledging my brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation and the researchers at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, I hope to support the best science and accelerate the development of ways to prevent and treat CTE.”
- Wickenheiser, 4 time Olympic Gold Medalist
“Female brains respond is differently to trauma in ways we are only beginning to understand, partially because only three percent of the nearly 500 brains donated to our brain bank have been female. We are honored by Hayley Wickenheiser’s pledge, and hope it leads to more female athletes signing up to pledge, as well as more families thinking about brain donation if they unfortunately lose a loved one.”
- Chris Nowinski, CEO & Co-Founder, Concussion Legacy Foundation
Al suffered nearly two dozen concussions that he can count...
"I have memory issues, some balance issues... whether those are related to the concussions or not, it's not for me to decide. If I pass away I might as well try to be doing something proper with my brain and hopefully, as being an organ donor as well, be able to carry a better quality of life for someone else." - Charron
Knowing what you know now, would you have still played rugby?
"I would have played rugby again, I just would have been a lot more aware of listening to my body." - Charron
“I think it’s going to be a long journey before we have a really comprehensive understanding of the effects of head trauma and concussions and CTE knowledge because there are many athletes out there, many people who’ve suffered significant and multiple concussions and are fine with no signs of CTE."