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Legacy of late Timmins hockey player lives on in concussion awareness campaign

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A concussion awareness program was launched Monday in Timmins during a special Family Day hockey game in honour of a player who passed away in 2019.

The Seguin and Beaudry families of Timmins dropped the ceremonial puck at a Timmins Rock game in honour of their late son and grandson, Ryan Seguin, who died in 2019 at age 24. Feb. 19/24 (Lydia Chubak/CTV Northern Ontario)

The Porcupine Health Unit and the Timmins Rock Junior 'A' Hockey Club have teamed up for the 'Heads Up' Campaign which focuses on encouraging everyone -- not just hockey players -- to take head injuries seriously.

"We have seen an increase in concussions since the pandemic and we also know that concussions often go unreported and that players can continue to play," said Kendra Luxmore, program manager of immunization and chronic disease prevention at the Porcupine Health Unit.

"So we’re trying to increase awareness so that when a concussion does occur, players, coaches, trainers, all the family members know what the next steps are and how to protect their health moving forward."

The 'Heads Up' campaign encourages athletes to get clearance from their primary health care providers before getting back into any game.

"There are symptoms you may feel," said Luxmore.

"The onset will vary person to person, but you may feel dizzy, headache, you may feel off balance, as time progresses, you may have some changes to your mood, sensitivity to light."

Importance of concussion awareness

Monday's game against the Hearst Lumberjacks was in memory of the late Ryan Seguin who passed away in 2019 at the age of 24.

He played hockey and his brother Derek, a Timmins Rock alumni, now plays in the Netherlands.

"When he (Ryan) was playing, he had suffered concussions and it had impacted him for quite awhile," Seguin said.

"Even after his playing days, he had a few concussions as well because once you have one, you’re more susceptible to getting others, so it’s something that affected him personally."

He said the subject was important enough to Ryan that he founded the Timmins Concussion Awareness Committee.

"During his university days, he would be out at hockey tournaments and ringette tournaments. He had his little cardboard booth and he would you know just chat with people and talk about concussion awareness because a lot of people, you know it’s an injury that’s very easily passable," Seguin said.

"It’s not visible like someone has a broken arm, sprained ankle; you can’t visibly see that this person is unwell or unfit to play."

After the game, fans were given a chance to meet their hockey heroes and hear straight from them how important it is to speak up if you've hit your head so your coaches and family can help you prevent further injury.

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