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New partnership enhances provincial concussion policy

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Ontario’s governing authority on rugby says a newly found partnership is increasing safety for athletes.

Rugby Ontario has announced a partnership with HeadCheck Health Inc. to implement concussion testing software to be used by the organization’s athletic therapists.

The technology uses a mobile app that includes Rugby Ontario’s concussion policy and history of all athletes within its programs.

“Having a mobile device with all the information at their fingertips of every one of our athletes is an invaluable tool. Our therapists are going to be able to track these athletes from the time they come into the provincial program until they leave,” says Paul Connelly, high performance manager with Rugby Ontario.

HeadCheck Health Inc. is a B.C.-based company, and has partnered with organizations such as the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.

“When HeadCheck came in, it was very impressive,” Connelly recalls. “They did a presentation, and after about the first two minutes, I was sold.”

While Connelly says the number of concussions in Ontario rugby are not a huge issue, the organization is focusing on preventative measures.

“The safety and maintenance of our athletes is our number one concern,” he says.

In addition to providing the technology, HeadCheck is also providing full training, onboarding, and data management support to Rugby Ontario.

The benefits of the new initiative will not been seen just in just this province.

“Soon we will be sending 110 players to Ireland on a 11-day tour. Our team therapists will have all their information on the phone on the sideline, even though we are all way across the ocean,” Connelly says.