Injuries and sports go hand and hand but no matter how many games you watch or play… nothing can tone down, or prepare you for the feeling that sets in when an athlete lies motionless with a suspected neck injury.

It’s terrifying, the consequences are permanent and life changing.


(Photo: CBC)

So when Bishop’s university football player Joe Fortin was placed on a spinal board at Percival Molson stadium on Friday night the reaction, the outpouring of concern, the fear of the worst case scenario was all understandable.

The stadium held its breath… and waited for help to arrive.

It took a while.

It was 27 minutes before an ambulance showed up. An unacceptable delay which was swiftly criticized on twitter by those watching this young man wait for help.

Bishop’s graduate and Sportsnet reporter Arash Madani was one of the most vocal, “Emergency protocols must be instituted IMMEDIATELY at all arenas/stadiums for amateur sport. Initial moments after major trauma is critical” he tweeted.

Madani is right. But the sad part is… in the CIS changes are LONG overdue.

In 2004 I was a defensive back for the Mount Allison Mounties. Playing in Halifax against Saint Mary’s University, the quarterback scrambled on a broken play and I rallied down to make a tackle. I didn’t quite make it. My linebacker caught the quarterback from behind, as he fell forward I jumped to avoid him. But at the same time my teammate was blocked from behind and fell head first into the into the collision area. As I jumped my left leg was caught between my teammate’s helmet and the quarterback’s helmet. It snapped like a twig about six inches above the ankle.

Just like Joe Fortin on Friday night, I had to wait nearly 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. After team trainers wrapped my leg in whatever was available, I was dragged to the sideline, given a piece of foam to bite down on, and told help was on the way.

I was lucky it was a clean break and the delay didn’t cause permanent nerve damage to my leg. But i’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I can only imagine what Fortin was thinking as he waited 27 minutes strapped to a spinal board.

In the end Fortin was not paralyzed, but the fact that ten years after my injury CIS football players are still left to revel in pain on the sideline without immediate top end medical care is shocking.

Football is a violent game where serious injuries to players is probable at all times. But still some universities choose not to pay for an ambulance to be on site during games.

On Saturday, McGill athletic director Drew Love told the CBC’s Tanya Brikbeck that the university is going to rethink its policy on providing an ambulance for games. My question is… what is there to think about? This should be a no brainer.

Right now (as it was in 2004) schools are left to decide on their own if they want to pay to have an ambulance on site.  As a result, I’ve found that schools in the downtown core of a cities tend not to take the same precautions as schools which are located further away from a hospital emergency room.

McGill is next door to the Royal Victoria Hospital but Love said that construction on the streets near the stadium may have delayed the ambulance’s arrival.

When you’re dealing with a high collision sport like football any delay in treating a serious injury can make a significant difference to the long term health of the athlete. Top end on field care should not be optional. The players in these games are strapping on the university logo and putting everything on the line when they step on the field. Any delay is unacceptable. The players in these games deserve better.

It’s time for the CIS and the RSEQ to make on field ambulances mandatory at football games. This incident once again serves as an example that when you let institutions police themselves… they often don’t. And when services aren’t offered at the expensive of a player’s safety, it’s simply unacceptable.


***This article was first published in 2006 – I wrote it for an Anglo magazine while I was living in Japan… I thought I’d re-post it tonight in honor of Bon Jovi’s back-to-back sold out shows in Montreal (Also I had sushi for diner…)

Bon Jovi’s popularity – will – never – die.

Rock on…

Half Way There: Why I Will Never Be Cool in Japan

Why is Bon Jovi such a hit in Japan? This is a question that has haunted me since my arrival here. I have always known that Bon Jovi was popular in places other than North America. But upon seeing his face on the cover of a hard core metal magazine entitled BURN I realized that in Japan, Mr. Jovi has taken it to another level and I am officially out of my element. I mean if Bon Jovi is the face of ‘cool’ in Japan I am so not cool it is embarrassing.

The fact is, certain English speaking celebrities seem to become more popular in non-English speaking countries than they are in English speaking countries. For example David Hasselhoff is huge in Germany and is a joke in North American. Kevin Costner was so loved oversees that even Water World made money outside of North America.

These are just a few minor examples. However, Mr. Jovi takes the cake. It is mind boggling that even well over a decade after he was even remotely cool in North America he can still be going strong and influencing fashion in Japan.

I had always assumed that Japan was the place where celebrities who were falling out of fashion in the ‘real world of cool’ went to die. They could come to the land of the rising sun and for a few years at least they could prolong their careers.

Like the last scene in the movie Spinal Tap where head banging Japanese rockers are just catching on to a trend that was long dead. I naturally assumed that Bon Jovi was making one last comeback in Japan, and then he would gracefully fade away into the archives of the karaoke machine.

How wrong I was.

It turns out that in Bon Jovi’s case he actually got his start here in Japan. He was big here before he was big in the North America. So that can explain and justify, to a certain degree, his popularity and quasi love affair with this country.

However, his longevity is what is most outstanding. If he was big in Japan before he was even heard of in North America it means that this guy has been trend setting in Japan for something like 20 years.

His image has become synonymous with the image of young Japanese. Somehow it is still cool in Japan to sport his tight ripped jeans and his rocker hair doo combination. New fashions may come and go, but if you’re Japanese and stuck for an outfit to wear out you can always fall back on the Bon Jovi classic look. In Japan this is the fashion formula that works 100% of the time.

Despite this un-questionable truth, I simply cannot, with any shred of self respect or dignity, pull off the Bon Jovi style. Therefore I lack the primary building block on which to become cool in this country.

When I see people wearing the Bon Jovi throw backs I can’t help but think, “man that is just not cool,” but after seeing person after person wearing this style, it began to dawn on me; in Japan I am just straight up not cool.

By moving here I have become the parallel to the awkward Asian exchange student that we all most undoubtedly had some experience with during our high school or university days. I am now that guy that the cool people took out because it was funny to see what things they would say and do because he simply didn’t know any better.

In an attempt to tune myself into what it means to be cool in Japan, I have reached out to the most obvious available resource; the youth. I’m constantly asking my students for the most popular music and carefully looking for new trends. The only re-occurring theme is…yes you guessed it… Bon Jovi.

Even Jr. High and High School students like him. They like him so much that students even write in their journals that he is their favorite musician. Young kids seem to have equally as strong as passion for Bon Jovi, his music and his style, as do those who spurred his blossoming popularity over 20 years ago.

Bon Jovi, like a tobacco company, somehow gets people hooked when they are very young and turns this demographic into his fans for life. Based on my sample polling of the youth in Japan his ballads will be sung in karaoke bars for decades to come. As with each new generation is born another generation of Japanese who are loyal to living the Bon Jovi dream.

Unfortunately this condemns me to never being able to achieve cool status in Japan. I simply can’t accept that Bon Jovi and all things Bon Jovi are cool. Maybe it’s because the prettiest girl in school refused to dance with me during a playing of Always at a grade 4 sock hop. Or maybe it’s because in his style of clothing I look like I belong in a Twisted Sister video. This is a part of Japanese life that I will never come to terms with personally. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll belt out a course or Living on a Prayer just as loud as the next guy at karaoke. But it will never make me cool in Japan.

Douglas Gelevan July 2006

Garbage Bags & Defeat

The Montreal Alouettes cleaned out their lockers after their season ended at the hand of the Toronto Argos in the CFL’s East Final.

Most players reflected on the missed opportunity to play in the 100th Grey Cup. But others such as Quarterback Anthony Calvillo have more than the game to contemplate…

Click on the photo to watch the story which aired for CBC NEWS Montreal on November 19th, 2012

Montreal’s first international beach soccer tournament could be with out one of its main draws because Canadian Immigration has denied travel visas for a team of Moroccan players.

Organizers say the reason the players were denied is because they don’t make enough money in their native country and Immigration Canada is afraid they players will stay in country after the tournament.

The local Moroccan community (which numbers nearly 100 000 in Montreal)  says they’re being singled out. Other teams such as Mexico, Brazil and Italy were allowed to send their teams to the event.

And local government worries this could jeopardize efforts to bring the women’s world cup of beach soccer to Montreal in 2013.

Workers are in the process of readying Uniprix Stadium for this weekend’s beach soccer tournament

Listen to the report witch aired for CBC Daybreak Montreal on August 16, 2012

***UPDATE*** (August 17th, 2012) – The Moroccan team’s final appeal to Immigration Canada was rejected and organizers  replaced them in the tournament with a Montreal Impact alumni team

Watching the Olympics hasn’t been easy for Rosanna Tomiuk. As a member Canada’s water polo team she just missed out on going to London. But the heartbreak hasn’t stopped the singer songwriter from getting involved.

Listen to the story which aired for CBC World Report on August 6, 2012

And here is a video of Tomiuk’s entire song from YouTube

Camera Roll Camps

Camera Roll Camp is a creative outlet for teens with special needs in Montreal.

Listen to my report on the camp that aired on Daybreak Montreal for CBC on June 25th.

Getaway – A Bearded Films Production


“I Shall Never Leave You. Nor Forsake You,” – JOSHUA 1:5

“Within our family, we want to spend our lives together as a family. We want to be around each other…and this farm provides us with the opportunity to be together and to work together. And that’s an amazing thing in this day and age when everyone is so separated from each other.” – Chris deWall

About the film

In May of 2009, Chris deWall landed in Nova Scotia, knowing next to nothing about farming.  In the months that followed, Chris learned not only about the intricacies of farming, but about himself.

Chris grew up in B.C. during the mid 90’s. Socially awkward, he eventually turns to drugs.  His parents, at wit’s end, send him to rehab, where he spends 19 months thinking about and learning to resolve the issues that led him there.

Chris ends up at a bible college in Alberta, where he meets Leonie Poyser, the daughter of English ex-pats and cattle farmers.  They are married within a year.

But Chris’ in-laws soon find themselves in dire straits: they lose the family farm when mad cow disease strikes the cattle industry.  Chris and Leonie are devastated watching “Mom  & Dad” struggle so they hatch a plan: they would farm again, but this time together, as a family.

So the whole family – all four generations – come to Nova Scotia where they buy Getaway Farm, on the north mountain of the Annapolis valley.

It is here that Chris realises what is important to him: his family.  That which will never leave nor forsake him.

“Honestly, when you grow up on a farm, you don’t know that there is anything else out there. And it is the best lifestyle to ever have, and I am so grateful to have grown up on a farm”  – Leonie deWall

“Farming is full of risk isn’t it? I mean, life is full of risk. Where there’s hope there’s life, and you just have a go”       – Godfrey Poyser

Watch the trailer of the film

About Bearded Films

Bearded Films are three guys – Douglas Gelevan, Jonathan Linds and Simon Thibault – who want to tell stories and aren’t afraid to get their cameras, editing suites, or beards, dirty while doing it.

The Filmmakers

Douglas Gelevan (1983) grew up in Bedford Nova Scotia. He has a degree in History from Mount Allison University (’05) and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Kings College Halifax (’10). He speaks four languages, considers himself a Trudeauist. He mostly lives out of his rucksack and has over twenty-seven different stamps in his passport including working visas from Austria, Japan and Australia.

Jonathan Linds was born in Toronto Ontario in 1986. On the advice of his eighth grade English teacher he went to the University of King’s College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies (’09). He liked King’s so much he decided he’d stick around to get a Bachelor of Journalism, too. Jonathan’s artistic lodestars include free jazz pioneer and intergalactic space traveler Sun Ra, last true rock-and-roller GG Allin, and filmmaker Werner Herzog. Jonathan dreams that one day he too will pull a ship over a mountain.

Simon Thibault grew up in Pointe-de-l’Eglise, a small french-speaking village on the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia.  He did his degree in English at Université Sainte-Anne, Nova Scotia’s only french language university.  His strongest and fondest memories are ones relating to the food he ate as a child, namely his mother’s rappie pie, his grandmother’s homemade doughnuts and his father’s potato pancakes. He has worked as a freelancer for The Coast, XTRA!, CBC Radio, Radio-Canada and is a food commentator for Information Morning, CBC Nova Scotia’s morning show.

Contact Information For Getaway

Simon Thibault – Phone: 902.425.3669 Email:simonthibault@gmail.com

Douglas Gelevan – Email: dgelevan@gmail.com

Jonathan Linds – jonnylinds@gmail.com

Getaway© 2010 Douglas Gelevan, Jonathan Linds, Simon Thibault. All Rights Reserved