Western University’s ‘See the Line’ aims to shift the culture around concussion in sport

It was the belief that she could shake it off and get back in the game that ended 17-year-old Rowan Stringer’s life. She died after being hit in the head twice in less than a week while playing high school rugby. Her parents Gord and Kathleen Stringer tell their story to a sold-out crowd of 700 athletes, coaches, parents and community members today at See the Line, Western University’s annual event focused on concussion research, education and awareness.

Now in its fourth year, Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry is proud to host See the Line in an effort to shift the culture around concussion in sport so tragedies like Rowan’s never happen again.

“Knowledge is power,” said Dr. Michael Strong, Dean, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. “The more that people understand the grave consequences of concussion injuries, the more likely they are to remove themselves from play when they suspect they have had a concussive event.”

The afternoon symposium features highlights from cutting-edge concussion research, a panel discussion including Rowan’s parents, and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and See the Line Honorary Chair Eric Lindros. The symposium will also celebrate the passage of Rowan’s Law with an address from Lisa MacLeod, MPP Nepean-Carleton, who put forward the private member’s bill for establishing new concussion protocols in Ontario.

“One of the first people in the medical community that I reached out to when I decided to take on Rowan’s Law as a private members bill, was Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry Dean, Dr. Michael Strong,” said MacLeod. “It’s natural that this year at See the Line we celebrate the passage of Rowan’s Law because right from the beginning it was this University in London, Ontario that stepped up to the plate.”

The day-long event is presented in partnership with London Health Sciences Foundation and the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, as well as London’s hospitals, research institutes, and the faculties of Health Sciences and Engineering at Western.

The keynote speaker for the Symposium is Dr. Douglas Smith, Director of the Centre for Brain Injury and Repair and professor of neurosurgery at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

The panel discussion includes Eric Lindros, retired NHL hockey player, 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and See the Line Honorary Chair; Gordon and Kathleen Stringer, parents to Rowan Stringer, advocates for Rowan’s Law; Greg Wojt, retired CFL offensive lineman, Edmonton Eskimos, Grey Cup Champion, two-time CFL All-Star; Allie Fischer, local basketball player, athletic career sidelined due to multiple concussions; Robin Bone, Canadian pole vaulter, three-time CIS Champion, four-time OUA Champion, 2016 FWP Jones Trophy winner, Western University; Tyler Varga, former running back, Western University, Yale University and NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, OUA Rookie of the Year, CIS National Freshman of the Year, three-time All-Ivy honoree, 2014 Offensive Player of the Year, 2015 Ivy League Player of the Year, retired from the NFL on July 26 at age 22.

Media is invited to attend the community information symposium portion of the event. Speakers and athletes will be available to speak to media immediately prior-to and following the event.

Date: Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Time: 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Natural Sciences Centre, Rm. 145, Western University

Community Symposium Agenda:

1:00 p.m. – Welcoming Remarks from Honorary Chair Eric Lindros
1:05 p.m. – Dr. Douglas Smith, Director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair and Professor of Neurosurgery at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
1:35 p.m. – Dr. Doug Fraser, Associate Professor, Departments of Paediatrics, Physiology and Pharmacology and Clinical Neurological Sciences, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Western University; Physician, London Health Sciences Centre Paediatric Critical Care Unit; Lead Researcher, Western Paediatric Concussion Study Group
1:50 p.m. – Kathryn Manning, MSc Candidate, Medical Biophysics, Western University
3:00 p.m. – Dr. David Mulder, staff surgeon, Montreal General Hospital, long-time member of Montreal Canadiens medical team and medical staff of the Montreal Alouettes, 50 year history of treating athletes with head injury.
3:30 p.m. – Lisa MacLeod, MPP Nepean-Carleton, put forward private member’s bill for Rowan’s Law
4:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion moderated by Dr. Michael Strong, Dean, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University

MEDIA CONTACT: Crystal Mackay, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, t. 519.661.2111 ext. 80387, c. 519.933.5944, crystal.mackay@schulich.uwo.ca @CrystalMackay

ABOUT WESTERN
Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

ABOUT THE SCHULICH SCHOOL OF MEDICINE & DENTISTRY
The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada’s preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery.

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