Thibeault introduces sports injury reduction strategy
New Democrat bill a tangible first step in addressing concussion epidemic in amateur and youth sport
OTTAWA? One year after NDP sports critic Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury) and fellow MP Thomas Mulcair (Outremont) called for a royal commission on serious sports injuries, the New Democrats have come up with a concrete first step in addressing the ongoing concussion epidemic occurring at the amateur sports level in Canada.
“The concussion epidemic is a contentious issue. Views vary among leagues, coaches, athletes, trainers, health specialists, referees, media and parents. This would provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to step forward and speak freely. It would offer a chance for the creation of a coordinated strategy moving forward,” said Thibeault. ‘‘We need to encourage participation in sport, however we also have a responsibility to ensure it’s a safe space for our athletes. Doing nothing just isn’t an option.’’
Today, Thibeault, the New Democratic Sports Critic, introduced The National Strategy for Serious Injury Reduction in Amateur Sport Act.
Thibeault’s legislation mandates that the federal government convene a conference of First Ministers of Health, as well as members of the athletic and medical communities, in order implement a strategy for tackling this growing public health concern. Specifically the bill outlines a strategy for the federal government to:
- Create a national sports injury surveillance and data collection system;
- Establish substantive concussion guidelines, including a sufficient deterrent mechanism to ensure athletes are not being returned to play against expressed medical recommendations;
- Create national training and educational standards for coaches and other persons involved in amateur sport
- Institute incentivized funding guidelines to assist amateur sports organizations in implementing these protocols
“Sidney Crosby’s concussion has certainly brought a lot of attention to concussions. But Crosby is not the only one suffering the debilitating effects of post-concussion syndrome. There are countless youth athletes silently afflicted by this concussion epidemic. The federal government has an obligation to coordinate a comprehensive response designed to ensure Canada’s youth are adequately protected,” added Mulcair.
Supporters of the proposal who were present at the morning’s press conference included: Dr. Neilank Kumar Jha, MD Neurosurgeon and chair of WATCH Community International and Susan Forbes, Adjunct Professor of Kinesiology and Injury Research Project Manager at Lakehead University.