Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Human and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Deana Simonetto

Advisor Role

Assistant Professor

Second Advisor

Dr. Carrie Sanders

Advisor Role

Associate Professor


Claims makers in the social problem game successfully constructed youth sporting concussions in Ontario as a social problem in need of remedying after the death of 17-year old Rowan Stringer on the rugby field in 2013. Rowan’s Law was implemented five years later in 2018 to attempt to identify and manage youth concussion injuries. The present study explores the impact of Rowan’s Law on coaches in minor league hockey at the triple A Bantam (U15) and Midget (U17) levels. The goal of this study was to determine if the policy change of Rowan’s Law was facilitating change on the cultural level of sport where athletes are socialized into a style of play which values athletes who risk their bodies for sport, play through pain and hide injury. I conducted 12 in-depth interviews with coaches. I utilized a social constructionist framework to study the social problem of youth sporting concussions which has become increasingly medicalized. The results of this study provide evidence that Rowan’s Law may be enacting some cultural change at the coaching level, but ultimately it is not enough to enact an across the board cultural change at the coaching level. This study ultimately concludes that the policy change as a result of successful claims making did not result in the cultural change necessary to prevent 1) coaches from knowingly or unknowingly returning athletes to play too soon and 2) athletes from returning to play after experiencing concussion pain or injury.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season