Innovative sports performance & safety program

Limestone Learning Foundation
NeuroProtection Project - Performance Meets Safety

As a commitment to safety and athletic performance, high school football players will be participating in a testing program that teaches them how to excel on the field, along with promoting a culture that prioritizes safety, mitigating the risk of concussion. 

The NeuroProtection Project provides community sports with an applied, evidence-based approach to mitigating the risk of injuries on the field by integrating sport performance, technology and injury prevention.

The Limestone District School Board (LDSB) and the Kingston & Area Secondary School Athletic Association (KASSAA) are working with Allen Champagne, a Queen’s PhD student and defensive line football coach, who leads the research of the NeuroProtection Project (NP2). The project is a study in collaboration with the Concussion Education Safety and Awareness Program and the Queen's Center for Neuroscience Studies (CESAP) -- designed to enhance coaching practices using cutting-edge technology.

“Involvement in sport contributes to the physical and mental well-being of young adults,” states Scot Gillam, Associate Superintendent of Safe and Caring Schools.  “We know that education of student-athletes is key towards improving concussion prevention, and injury recovery.”  LDSB, in close partnership with KFL&A Public Health, continues to provide schools and parents with information around concussion protocols on prevention and identification. 

While there are strict concussion protocols in place, NP2 specifically addresses student-athlete behaviour. “The NP2 approach looks for ways to make the game safer by combining science with athletics in order to help students better their technique to prevent injuries,” says Gillam. 

Athletes participate in pre-season, sport-specific testing designed to assess and identify athlete behaviours that increase the risks for head and body injuries. Whether injuries results from poor technique during tackling or blocking, or a combination of poor functional biomechanics and playing style, the NP2 approach actively reduces risk factors related to player behaviours on the field by integrating intervention strategies that stem directly from individual players’ needs. These tangible teaching points for players to practice improves their performance while reducing their chances of sports related concussion.

Earlier this year, the legislative assembly of Ontario enacted Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety Bill 193). The new legislation will provide Ontario with an opportunity to establish a provincial sport-injury prevention protocol, designed to mitigate the risk of head injury in youth, amateur and competitive sports. Consultation by the government is still to be completed prior to school implementation, originally targeted for 2019.

“Sports provide students an environment through which they learn to develop a work ethic, embrace teamwork, and most importantly, appreciate each other’s differences,” adds Gillam. “It is because of these factors that school boards, coaches, Public Health and other community partners are working together to ensure youth remain safe when playing any sport.”

As part of honouring the memory of Rowan Stringer, the 17-year-old rugby player whose death resulted from sustaining multiple concussions, the Ontario legislation established the last Wednesday in September as Rowan’s Law Day.  Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to pass concussion safety legislation. Rowan’s Law Day will be observed by KFL&A Public Health and area school boards on Wednesday, September 26, 2018. 

Physical education and health specialists from across the province have created a toolkit for schools and classrooms to recognize Rowan’s Law Day and to spark conversation among students, staff, and the school community about concussion awareness. 

Schools and community sports associations may access the revised Concussion Protocol and implementation tools (Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines, Appendix C-1) and Ophea’s revised Concussion Identification, Management and Prevention for Schools 2018/19 e-Learning module.

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.