On August 15, 2013, while playing for Team Alberta against Team British Columbia during the national championships in Vancouver, Justine Cowitz experienced her first rugby-related concussion. “I don’t think I ever returned to normal,” she says.
Esperança Da Silva sits in the brown leather recliner in a small, crowded two-bedroom condo in Brampton. She massages the Portuguese equivalent of Voltaren into the back of her knee. The piercing smell of medical ointment pervades the room, but it’s comforting and familiar to both of us. At four-foot-ten, the recliner seems to swallow her whole.