Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada wants to make sports safer

Oct 15, 2015 3 MIN READ

The Pro Bono Cause

The Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) is at the forefront of tackling the concussion crisis through its gold standard prevention, education and awareness programs and its unrelenting advocacy in support of the health and safety of our athletes.

CLF came to Canada in 2012 under the leadership of Tim Fleiszer, a former Canadian Football League (CFL) professional athlete and four-time Grey Cup winner. Since then, Tim and his team have forged a unique partnership with Western’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, one of Canada’s leaders in clinical research and treatment of brain trauma. The partnership enables CLF Canada (CLFC) and Schulich to join together to offer outstanding education and prevention programs and provide cutting-edge research.

In 2016, CLFC broadened its reach in partnering with the Max Pacioretty Foundation, which supports the Montreal General Hospital’s brain trauma treatment and research initiatives.

CLFC’s advocacy has involved building grassroots relationships across communities, developing school presentations for young athletes and leveraging social media with the #Team Up Speak Up prevention program, which has contributed to a national conversation about concussion awareness. 

This hard work has already generated momentum. CLFC’s programs have reached tens of thousands of young athletes from coast to coast.  In 2017, the CFL became the first professional football league to ban in-season full-contact practices. The Ontario government recently accepted the recommendations of the Rowan’s Law Task Force in the advancement of concussion education, awareness and treatment, bringing Canada’s most populous province one step closer to mandatory concussion safety guidelines for amateur athletes. The Ontario government has also recognized Rowan’s Law Day by investing $105,000 to expand efforts to improve concussion safety across the province. In Ottawa, the Rowan’s Legacy Project in partnership with Carleton and the University of Ottawa was launched. CLFC has supported all of these groundbreaking initiatives.  

CLFC will continue to engage, collaborate with and support parents, children, coaches, athletes, associations and politicians in the cause of solving the concussion crisis.

The Osler Pro Bono Connection

To obtain help in arranging for charitable designation status, Tim reached out to Osler partner John Macfarlane, an avid athlete and coach with an equally sports-minded family. John has seen first-hand the effects of concussion on young people engaged in sports.

Osler was involved in negotiating the partnership agreement between Western and CLFC, and continues to support the organization with day-to-day advice.

Volunteer Reflections

“Tim’s initiative in bringing CLFC to Canada, and to the forefront of the discussion surrounding concussions, youth and sports, is inspiring. CLFC is truly making a difference. I am incredibly proud to be associated with CLFC’s work, and delighted that Osler continues to play a role in its successes” 

John Macfarlane

Partner, Corporate, Toronto