PARTNERSHIP WITH LE BOUCLIER PREVENTION AND LAUNCH OF WITH ALL MY HEAD PROJECT

(Québec) - September 05, 2018. In July 2018, The Concussions Legacy Foundation Canada and Le Bouclier united to launch the 'With All My Head'project, an innovative initiative that will extend the reach of brain injury prevention strategies to the French-speaking population. This partnership will allow all CLFC Canada's education and concussion prevention programs to be available in both French and English.

The project, titled 'With All My Head', will be born in the Quebec City region and will involve the university community. This includes September 12th Team Up Speak Up Day, CLFC Canada's social media concussion awareness campaign.

More than 100 concussion prevention activities will be organized in French during the fall and winter 2018-2019 semesters, to ensure that Francophone athletes and young students have access to the same resources as their English counterparts. Matthieu Proulx will be the spokesperson of the day in Team Talk and With All My Head.

Matthieu Proulx studied law in Laval from 2001 to 2004, he played for the Rouge et Or as cornerback and won two national championships. He played with the Alouettes from 2005 to 2010, winning two Grey Cup championships. He is now a commentator for RDS."I am pleased to represent this program, which will make sport safer for Quebec's children and young athletes."

"The fact that prevention information is available to all Canadians has been one of the Foundation's goals from day one, and the partnership with Le Bouclier Prevention ensures a better dissemination of our message throughout Quebec. I would like to express my gratitude to all those who made this project possible. Without the tremendous work done by our partners and by all members of the Advisory Committee, this project would probably not be the benchmark for concussion prevention that I believe it is becoming. I am proud that the Concussion Legacy Foundation will become the Canadian benchmark for the surveillance, prevention, detection and management of concussions," said Tim Fleiszer, Executive Director of Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada.

"Le Bouclier Prevention is proud to be part of this collaboration. We look forward to working together to improve our mission and provide all Canadians with concussion awareness and education material. We have heard from Quebec families that they want to be assured that their children are protected by a safe sport system, in which each participant understands what a concussion is, actively seeks to minimize the risk. and knows the immediate actions to take when someone is a victim. The deployment of this project will encourage athletes to come forward if they suspect concussion risk in a teammate or on their own," Simon Poulin, Director of Francophone Programs at CLFC and Director of Le Bouclier Prevention and With All My Head Project.

"I am pleased that Quebec is taking the necessary steps to reduce cases of concussions while raising awareness about the treatment of these injuries when they inevitably occur. We must take care of each other. We need this project to be completed,"Eric Lindros, NHL Hockey Hall of Famer.

"Whether you're a parent, athlete, or support staff, Team Up Speak Up is worth it; is interesting and educational," Glen Constantin, Head Coach, Rouge et Or Université Laval and U Sports Coach of the Year, 2005, 2010.

HISTORY IS MADE WITH THE PASSING OF ROWAN’S LAW, FACILITATING IMPROVED CONCUSSION MANAGEMENT ACROSS CANADA


(Toronto) – On March 6th, history was made as the Government of Ontario passed Rowan’s Law, the first concussion legislation in Canada. Rowan’s Law establishes the following requirements in order to protect amateur athletes:

• Annual review of concussion awareness resources that prevent, identify, and manage, concussions that coaches and educators would be required to review before registering in sport

• Removal-from-Sport and Return-to-Sport protocols to ensure athletes are immediately removed from sport if they are suspected to have sustained a head injury/concussion

• A concussion code of conduct that would set out rules of behaviour to minimize concussions in sport

Rowan’s Law comes as a testament to the persistence of the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee. Their September 2017 report was generated in response to the jury recommendations resulting from the Coroner’s inquest into the death of Rowan Stringer, the law’s namesake. In addition the legislation, it was also announced that the last Wednesday in September will be deemed “Rowan’s Law Day”.

“I want to express my gratitude to the legislature for establishing Rowan’s Law”, said Rowan’s father, Gordon Stringer. “Rowan’s Law is the direct result of recommendations of the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee, who contributed their time, expertise and passion to develop thoughtful solutions to a significant health concern that has been unaddressed for far too long. I believe that Rowan’s Law will become the ‘gold standard’ for concussion legislation in Canada, because of the incredible work of the members of the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee. I look forward to seeing Rowan’s law implemented in months to come, as well as the other key recommendations of the Advisory Committee. In the memory of our daughter Rowan, I thank all who were involved in bringing us to this day and to those who will continue the important work of promoting concussion awareness.”

The Stringers, along with MPP Lisa MacLeod, are strong advocates for concussion awareness and prevention across Canada, in particular through their involvement in the passing of Rowan’s Law and their work with the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada and other groups. The Stringers have attended a variety of events to advocate and share their daughter’s story, including Western University’s annual See the Line symposium and most recently the University of Ottawa’s Rowan’s Legacy Symposium in October 2017.

"Rowan's Law is an important step forward for concussion awareness, treatment and research and Ontario is a national leader in this regard,” says MPP Lisa MacLeod. “Along with grassroots leadership like the #teamupspeakup initiative launched by the Concussion Legacy Foundation we will start to see a cultural shift on how we think about concussions and how young athletes respond to head injury".

Tim Fleiszer, Executive Director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada offered his support and insight on the pursuits ahead. "This legislation underscores the seriousness and potential consequences of not properly managing head injuries. I applaud Kathleen, Gord and Cassie Stringer for their tireless efforts on behalf of young Ontarian athletes and proudly join them in the pursuit of additional legislation across Canada. We will continue working, along with our university partners, MPP Lisa McLeod, Eric Lindros and others, to educate and support stakeholders through our symposiums, prevention programs and social media initiatives, with the ultimate goal of solving the concussion crisis. Rowan's law is a huge step in the right direction".

Such an opportunity may arise sooner rather than later, in the form of a cohort of concussion advocacy, awareness, education, and policy groups meeting at this year’s annual See the Line symposium at Western University.

About Rowan’s Law: Rowan’s Law created an expert advisory committee to Ontario’s Premier that advises on the implementation of the Ontario specific recommendations. Right now, every jurisdiction in the United States has concussion related legislation. With the passage of Rowan’s Law, Ontario became the first province in Canada to do so.

Ice Hockey Legend Hayley Wickenheiser Pledges to Donate Brain to Concussion Legacy Foundation to Support CTE Research


(Calgary) – The Concussion Legacy Foundation announced today that Canadian ice hockey legend and six-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser has pledged to donate her brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) to support research on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and concussions. The announcement was made in partnership with Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada, which operates prevention, education and awareness events across the country.

“As I transition to being an ambassador for hockey in my retirement, I am determined to leave hockey better and safer,” said Wickenheiser, who is currently in PyeongChang for the Winter Olympics as a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. “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.”

“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,” said Chris Nowinski, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “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.”

Wickenheiser’s brain pledge helped kick off Brain Pledge Month, part of the Foundation’s My Legacy campaign to encourage athletes to make a lasting contribution to concussion and CTE research. She joins U.S. Olympic bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor and former American hockey player and four-time Olympian Angela Ruggiero, each of whom also pledged their brains to the Foundation this week.

More than 2,800 former athletes and military veterans have pledged to donate their brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation since 2008, including more than 550 women, roughly half of all non-football pledges. Other prominent female athletes that have pledged include U.S. soccer legend Brandi Chastain, former USA Hockey Women’s Player of the Year AJ Griswold, and three-time Olympic gold medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar. Individuals with sports or military backgrounds of any kind are encouraged to pledge their brain to research at ConcussionFoundation.org/pledge.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation is the outreach and recruiting arm of the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, a partnership with Boston University and the US Department of Veterans Affairs and led by Dr. Ann McKee. The Brain Bank is now the world’s largest CTE brain bank with subspecialties in concussion, ALS, and other consequences of brain trauma. Nearly 500 brains have been donated, resulting in over 285 CTE diagnoses, including five former NHL players. In 2017, the Brain Bank announced the first four CTE diagnoses among male junior ice hockey players, all of whom died before the age of 30.

Everyone who pledges their brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation receives a personalized brain donor card and an informational packet about the brain donation process. Those who pledge are encouraged to spread the word to friends, family and former teammates about the importance of brain trauma research, and to share why they pledged using #MyLegacyPledge.

About Hayley Wickenheiser: Hayley Wickenheiser is one of the best female hockey players in the world. As a decorated Olympian, she has led her team to four gold and one silver medal as well as being named the tournament’s most valuable player in both 2002 and 2006. For the 2014 Sochi Olympics Wickenheiser was selected to be the flag bearer for the Canadian Olympic team in the Opening Ceremonies. Wickenheiser was a member of the Canadian Women’s National Team starting in 1994 at the age of 15, through January of 2017 when she announced her retirement.

2017 East Region Most Outstanding Defensive Player pledges to donate brain to Concussion Legacy Foundation to support CTE research


(Montreal) – The Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada announced today that CFL player and 2017 East Region Most Outstanding Defensive Player, Kyries Hebert, has pledged to donate his brain through the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada (CLFC) to support research on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and concussions.

"With the attention being paid to head injuries in sports, I want to do my part to make football safer,” said Hebert. “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."

More than 2,500 former athletes and military veterans have pledged to donate their brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation since 2008, including more than 1,000 in 2017 alone. Individuals with sports or military backgrounds of any kind are encouraged to pledge their brain to research at ConcussionFoundation.org/pledge.

Everyone who pledges their brain through the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada receives a personalized brain donor card and an informational packet about the brain donation process. Those who pledge are encouraged to spread the word to friends, family and former teammates about the importance of brain trauma research, and to share why they pledged using #MyLegacy.

Hebert’s brain pledge was made in conjunction with his upcoming trip to Ottawa for the Grey Cup festivities as the 2017 East Region Most Outstanding Player. While in Ottawa, he will host the CLFC’s annual Bash for Brains fundraiser, which gives the community an opportunity to party with the last standing Renegade while supporting concussion outreach, education, and research. Bash for Brains is slotted for Friday, November 23rd and Saturday, November 24th at the Bourbon Room on Dalhousie. Some proceeds from the two-night event will benefit CLFC for future initiatives.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada is the Canadian constituent of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, founded by Dr. Chris Nowinski and Dr. Bob Cantu in 2007. Both sides of the border work collectively as the outreach and recruiting arm of the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, a partnership with Boston University and the US Department of Veterans Affairs led by Dr. Ann McKee. The Brain Bank is now the world’s largest CTE brain bank with subspecialties in concussion, ALS, and other consequences of brain trauma. More than 470 brains have been donated, resulting in over 285 CTE diagnoses.

About Kyries Hebert: Kyries Hebert is currently a defensive powerhouse for the Montreal Alouettes (2012 – present). A Eunice, Louisiana native, Hebert has spent time playing in the CFL and NFL. Hebert is the last standing Renegade as a member of the Ottawa organization in 2004 and 2005 prior to the folding of the organization. Hebert was named a CFL All-Star in 2012 (East Region nominee), and is currently up for Most Outstanding Defensive Player as the East Region nominee. The Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year will be announced Thursday, November 24th in Ottawa at the Shaw Centre.

Lisa McHale to Bring her Powerful CTE Story to Ottawa for uOBMRI-Rowan’s Legacy Concussion Symposium


(Ottawa, ON) This Thursday, October 19th, the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada (CLFC) and the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute (uOBMRI) will welcome Lisa McHale, a mother of three and the wife of former NFL player, Tom McHale, who was diagnosed with CTE after his death in 2008. This event is scheduled on October 19th from 5:30-8:30 pm (5 pm Check In & Registration) at Algonquin College. For more information and event registration visit brainhealthawarenessweek.ca.

As the Director of Family Relations for Concussion Legacy Foundation, McHale will be in Ottawa to discuss her experiences with Tom’s CTE symptoms and ultimate diagnosis. In 2008, Tom McHale passed from an accidental overdose at the age of 45. He was the second case of pathologically confirmed CTE by experts in the field at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE), and sixth former professional player to be diagnosed with the disease on the whole.

Lisa describes her hopes for the future through her powerful testimonial about Tom, “I hope to help others understand just how devastating the long-term impact of repetitive sports-related head trauma can potentially be. I would hope that the awareness of these consequences will lead to a profound cultural change in how we perceive and respond to sports-related, and other, head trauma.”

In her testimonial, Lisa described her husband as “larger than life” and someone “in a class all his own”, which he demonstrated on the football field by breaking records, earning All-American honors, and with a 9 year stint in the NFL. More than his love of the game, Lisa remembers her husband as someone who was passionate about life and his faith, devoted to his family, and loyal to his friends.

Tom struggled and opened up about his signs of depression and opiate addiction; however despite his efforts he lost his battle on May 25th, 2008. At the time of his death Lisa had never heard of CTE, but after his diagnosis by Dr. Ann McKee of the Boston University CSTE Lisa finally felt like she was beginning to understand the changes she saw in Tom. For her, their three sons, family, and friends, this diagnosis made a difference for them during the healing process – the changes they couldn’t understand in Tom now had a neurological cause behind them.

Lisa joined the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) in 2010 first as the Volunteer and Family Coordinator. Lisa is now the Director of Family Relations and works with CLF to maintain relationships with families who donate their loved one’s brains for research. Lisa will be speaking at the Rowan’s Legacy Symposium about her experiences as a way to share the personal side of CTE. To read her full testimonial visit concussionfoundation.org.

About the uOMBRI-Rowan’s Legacy Symposium: Inspired by Western’s See the Line, the Rowan’s Legacy Symposium aims to make current research and education accessible to the community through short panels and talks from world-class researchers, captivating ambassadors, and high-level athletes. It is a valuable, free opportunity for community members to gain first hand access to current concussion research and practical clinical advice from leading clinicians and researchers. We welcome all community members – coaches, athletes, educators, public health members, and inquisitive minds to attend.

Eric Lindros to Attend Ottawa Concussion Symposium as a Member of the Rowan’s Law Panel


On Thursday (October 19th), the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada (CLFC) and the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute (uOBMRI) will welcome Eric Lindros to partake in the first annual Rowan’s Legacy Symposium to educate the Ottawa community about concussions. Inspired by Western’s See the Line, the Rowan’s Legacy Symposium aims to make current research and education accessible to the community through short panels and presentations from world class researchers, captivating ambassadors, and high level athletes.

As a Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada Ambassador, Lindros has been a key advocate for concussion awareness, education, and research through a variety of campaigns, committees, and as a speaker at See the Line. Lindros is also one of the driving forces behind the popular Team Up Speak Up Campaign that launched in 2016 (US) and 2017 (Canada). “It is too much to ask young athletes to recognize their own concussion and take themselves off the field in the heat of battle,” said Lindros. "Research shows that even if they do know they have a concussion, they worry about letting down their teammates and their coach. By training athletes to Speak Up on behalf of teammates, we expect more athletes will have their concussion recognized and managed appropriately.”

To kick off the first annual concussion symposium, members of the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee will discuss the report that was released earlier in September. This committee was given one year to address and advise based on 49 recommendations that came from the coroner’s inquest into Rowan Stringer’s passing. Individuals on the panel include Eric Lindros, CLFC Ambassador and Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee, Lisa MacLeod, Nepean-Carleton MPP, and Gord & Kathleen Stringer. The panel will discuss the concussion issue from a legislative standpoint and encourage other provinces to follow suit. Canada is behind the US where all jurisdictions have concussion legislation already in place.

Rowan’s Legacy Symposium is a valuable, free opportunity for community members to gain first hand access to current concussion research and practical clinical advice from leading clinicians and researchers. All community members – coaches, athletes, educators, public health members, and inquisitive minds are encouraged to attend. The event is scheduled on October 19th from 5:30-8:30 pm (5 pm Check In & Registration) at Algonquin College, appropriately located in Nepean, the hometown of Rowan, whom the event is named after. For more information and event registration visit brainhealthawarenessweek.ca. Rowan’s Legacy Project is inspired by Rowan Stringer, a 17-year-old rugby player, who died suddenly as a result of Second Impact Syndrome. She is also the inspiration for Rowan's Law, Canada's first concussion legislation.

About Rowan’s Law: Rowan’s Law created an expert advisory committee to Ontario’s Premier that advises on the implementation of the Ontario specific recommendations. Right now, every jurisdiction in the United States has concussion related legislation. With the passage of Rowan’s Law, Ontario became the first province in Canada to do so.

Concussion Legacy Foundation Commends CFL and CFLPA for Changes Announced Just One Day Following the Second Annual Team Up Speak Up Campaign


On both sides of the border, the Concussion Legacy Foundation commended the Canadian Football League (CFL) and Canadian Football League Players Association (CFLPA) for changes announced on Wednesday, September 13th. Two major changes to CFL regulations will improve player safety. First, both parties agreed to decrease the number of allotted full contact practices from 17 to 0, effective immediately. Second, both parties agreed to extend the 20 week season to 21 weeks commencing in 2018, giving teams 3 bye weeks to allow athletes more time for recovery. Both changes come just one day following the second annual Team Up Speak Up Day Campaign.

In 2016, more than 150 organizations representing 3 million athletes participated during the first ever Team Up Speak Up Day campaign. In 2017, this number was surpassed with over 200 organizations representing more than 3.4 million athletes participating in both Canada and the United States. This year’s contributors included Rugby Canada, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Complete Concussion Management, Carleton, Ottawa, McGill and Western University Athletics, USA Rugby, USA Hockey, NASCAR, the Positive Coaching Alliance, the American Hockey Coaches Association, Major League Lacrosse, the Ivy League, and the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Tim Fleiszer, Founder and Executive Director of Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada (CLFC) and a former CFL player, spoke highly of the changes announced by the CFL and CFLPA. "As a CFL alum and a former CFL Player's Association Representative, I was proud of our league when I heard today's news,” stated Fleiszer. “It is a big step in the right direction. Other sports league should take note and follow suit."

Fleiszer is responsible for bringing Team Up Speak Up to Canada after a successful launch in in the United States in 2016. "The Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada commends the efforts of the CFL and CFLPA for being proactive concerning the brain safety of current and future professional players. It is encouraging to see these steps and we hope it will cause a ripple effect through Canadian universities and grassroots organizations," he said.

This announcement was lauded south of the border as well, with the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) founder, Chris Nowinski, also voicing his support. “I am thrilled that the CFL and CLFPA have set this new policy. Based on the concerning evidence we have today on the long-terms effects of repetitive brain trauma, this is a sensible, forward-thinking response with only upside for the players and the future of the game,” he said.

Dr. Nowinski was recently published as a contributing author of Dr. Jesse Mez’sBoston University research article, which found evidence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in 110 of 111 former NFL cases and 7 of 8 former CFL cases. Reducing the number of head impacts athletes receive should reduce the risk of developing CTE.

About the Concussion Legacy Foundation: The Concussion Legacy Foundation was founded in June 2007 by Dr. Chris Nowinski, Ph.D., and Dr. Robert Cantu. Inspired by his own post-concussion symptoms, Nowinski sought to bring the information Dr. Cantu provided him to the public. Nowinski was integral to the launch of the Team Up Speak Up Day initiative and the success it achieved in it’s inaugural year. This year, with the help of former teammate, Tim Fleiszer, the second Team Up Speak Up Day campaign grew to encompass both Canada and the US. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

CONCUSSION LEGACY FOUNDATION CANADA, ERIC LINDROS ANNOUNCE NATIONAL CONCUSSION EDUCATION CAMPAIGN TO TEACH ATHLETES TO LOOK OUT FOR THEIR TEAMMATES


(Toronto) –Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada announced today at a press conference it is launching Team Up Speak Up, an international concussion education campaign designed to change the culture of concussions in sports by encouraging athletes to Speak Up if they think a teammate has a concussion. Rugby Canada is the first major Canadian sports organization to sign on to the campaign, and others can sign up at TeamUpSpeakUp.org.

The goal is that by September 12th, known as Team Up Speak Up Day, every athlete in Canada will receive a speech from their team leadership, including their coach, captain and medical team, teaching them that a good teammate will Speak Up to a coach or athletic trainer if they think another teammate might have a concussion. 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Eric Lindros will serve as a Team Up Speak Up Ambassador.

“It is too much to ask young athletes to recognize their own concussion and take themselves off the field in the heat of battle,” said Lindros. "Research shows that even if they do know they have a concussion, they worry about letting down their teammates and their coach. By training athletes to Speak Up on behalf of teammates, we expect more athletes will have their concussion recognized and managed appropriately.”

Tim Fleiszer, executive director of Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada and a former CFL player, brought Team Up Speak Up to Canada after a successful launch last year in the United States. “I am amazed at the support that Team Up Speak Up received in its inaugural year. This is a program that everyone in sports can get behind to protect youth athletes.”

In 2016 over 150 organizations representing 3 million athletes signed on. 2017 is on pace to beat that record, with the growing list of participating organizations including USA Rugby, USA Hockey, NASCAR, the Positive Coaching Alliance, the American Hockey Coaches Association, Major League Lacrosse, the Ivy League, and the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Fleiszer was joined at the press conference in the Ontario Legislative Building by Concussion Legacy Foundation co-founder and CEO Chris Nowinski, PhD, Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, and Gordon and Kathleen Stringer.

Team Up Speak Up is inspired by the Stringer’s daughter, Rowan. Rowan was a 17-year-old rugby player who died suddenly as a result of Second Impact Syndrome in 2013, and is also the namesake of Rowan’s Law, Canada’s first concussion legislation. The Stringers hope that by training athletes to Speak Up, future deaths can be prevented. A co-captain of her rugby team, Rowan chose to play a game while recovering from a concussion she had not reported to her coach, parents, or medical professionals. Rowan had confided in friends that she thought she had a concussion, but they did not understand the risks of playing with a concussion, and agreed she should report it after the next game. During that next game, Rowan suffered Second Impact Syndrome, a rapid swelling of her brain which can occur if a player receives a head impact soon after a concussion, and died.

Organizations, coaches, parents, and athletes can sign up to participate at TeamUpSpeakUp.org, where they can learn more about the program and how to give the speech. Those who pledge to participate in Team Up Speak Up are asked to post on social media using #TeamUpSpeakUp and include a “teamie” – a photo of teammates with their arms around one another and index fingers in the air pointing up, signifying that they’re teaming up.

Organizations can send their logo to Evan Pursley at epursley@concussionfoundation.org to be listed as a supporter.