BC Rugby’s Monique Charbonneau attended the Governor General’s Conference on Concussions in Sport as a panellist last Tuesday in Ottawa. As a leader of the BC Rugby Player Welfare Committee and lead athletic therapist for BC Rugby and the Meraloma Rugby Club, Charbonneau has done extensive research into concussions and has dedicated her career to improving player welfare and injury prevention.

Alongside Charbonneau, the Conference panellists were comprised of retired professional athletes, professors and even a neurosurgeon. The theme of the day was “We Can Do Better” as the discussions surrounded ways to encourage more youth to play sports while reducing the incidence of concussions and developing high standards for player safety.

Charbonneau presented on the work currently being done at BC Rugby. She explained how athletic therapists are working to reduce the rate of unreported symptoms and injuries by developing strong relationships with players. By gaining the trust of the players they are able to have more open conversations and better help athletes who may feel scared or ashamed to ask for help.

Other takeaways from her presentation and the conference are that it’s important to start educating children at an early age about concussion management and player safety in order to create a culture shift around these topics.

Charbonneau also emphasized the importance of knowledge, urging that individuals become as familiar with the 6 R’s (Recognize, Remove, Refer, Rest, Recover, Return) as they are with common knowledge such as calling 911 for emergencies. BC Rugby uses the software Privit Profile for concussion surveillance to more effectively communicate and track player injuries throughout the process.

This Conference has been an excellent opportunity to share ideas, identify areas for growth and recognize as a nation the important of player welfare. BC Rugby will be continuing to do its part in improving player safety and concussion management through education and investment in monitoring systems.

This year, BC Rugby’s community has embraced completing World Rugby’s Concussion Management online module with over 700 people completing the module.