Curling Canada has confirmed its intentions to move forward on introducing a helmet policy for young athletes starting out in the sport.
The announcement came following the national governing body’s annual meeting in Cornwall in Ontario.
Representatives of Curling Canada’s 14 Member Associations approved a motion that endorses the immediate release of a statement to encourage the country’s curling clubs and facilities to acknowledge a concern about head injuries and concussions.
They are urging clubs and facilities to implement helmet-use initiatives in beginner and novice curling programmes and are also strongly suggesting the use of protective headgear for all those in the under-12 age category.
"I believe this is an important move that puts our sport in a leadership position in terms of making sure our young and beginning curlers are playing the sport with safety in mind," Peter Inch, chair of Curling Canada’s Board of Governors, said.
"It won’t be an overnight move, but I think this pushes the conversation forward and makes sure that we’re making those safety concerns a priority."
The general manager at Regina's Tartan Curling Club, Wes Czarnecki, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation it already has policies in place regarding helmets.
Czarnecki also forsees older players donning helmets.
"They're pretty cognizant that as they age, balance and other issues come in to play and from a safety perspective it's something that just makes sense," he said.
In June of last year, Curling Canada introduced a new policy which means athletes who suffer a head injury at any of its events have to undergo a medical examination before they are allowed to return to play.
It was part of a set of guidelines surrounding head injuries and protection that were being recommended for adoption by Canadian curling centres.
When an athlete falls during a game, and a head injury is suspected, the athlete is required to be examined by a doctor and undergo tests to determine whether a concussion has occurred.
If no concussion is diagnosed, the athlete can return to the game.
Otherwise, the athlete is required to undergo and pass a five-step testing process, each requiring a minimum 24 hours, before being cleared to return to play by a physician.
Canada Curling’s annual meeting was the concluding event of the 2017 National Curling Congress.
In addition to the helmet policy vote, Curling Canada also welcomed two new Governors to its 10-member Board.
George Cooke, inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 2014, and Brad Gibb, a former President of the Northern Alberta Curling Association, were elected to the Board.
They will replace outgoing Governors Shirley Osborne and Ron Hutton, with their terms due to begin on October 1.
The Board of Governors also elected a new chair and vice-chair for the 2017-2018 season.
Resby Coutts will be promoted from vice-chair to chair and Maureen Miller will take over as vice-chair.
Those moves are also set to take effect on October 1, when Inch’s term as chair formally ends.
Canada triumphed at both the World Men's and Women's Curling Championships this year.