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Expert panel to advise Nova Scotia government on safety in school sports

Nova Scotia Education Minister Zach Churchill speaks during a press conference in Halifax on Jan. 24, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

An expert panel has been created to advise the minister of education and early childhood development on the safety of sports in the province’s schools.

In a phone interview on Monday, Minister Zach Churchill said the inter-school sport safety review panel was created to help provide advice on ways in which to prevent and reduce injuries.

“[We] recognize that there will be a level of risk when [children] step on the field,” Churchill said. “We have a group of representatives that have come together to help us mitigate injuries,”
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READ MORE: ‘Let us play’ — N.S. students push back as athletic federation cancels high school rugby

Minister Churchill say that members of the panel were selected by the department of education and early childhood development.

According to a release, medical experts and athlete representatives will look at strategies to promote safety and injury prevention, including head injuries, in school sports.

The 17-member panel is also made up of Nova Scotia chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang and representatives from multiple provincial and national athletic organizations, including Stephen MacNeil, chair of the board of governors for the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation (NSSAF).

READ MORE: N.S. high school student’s petition to reinstate rugby surpasses 23,000 signatures

The NSSAF received intense public backlash in May when it announced the cancellation of high school rugby in the province after saying the sport would no longer be covered under its insurance policy.

After a week of petitions, negotiations and protests by students, the high school athletic federation and the provincial government agreed to allow Ruby Nova Scotia to manage the 2018-19 rugby season.

READ MORE: Rugby to continue in Nova Scotia high schools

The panel has already met twice in the month of July and will be expected to meet another two times during the summer.

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Minutes of the past two meetings are expected to be made available to the public by the end of the week. A report is expected by August 31.

Watch: High school players respond with jubilation over reverse of rugby ban

Click to play video: 'High school players respond with jubilation over reverse of rugby ban' High school players respond with jubilation over reverse of rugby ban
High school players respond with jubilation over reverse of rugby ban – May 3, 2019

—With files from Alexander Quon

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