Friday, November 4, 2011

Washington's Zackery Lystedt law inspires other states to protect student athletes

We’ll never know for sure how many traumatic brain injuries are being prevented by the Zackery Lystedt law that Washington state lawmakers passed unanimously in 2009.  But we do know our state law is having an impact nationwide. 

The Zackery Lystedt law (a.k.a. EHB 1824) required school districts to raise awareness of the dangers posed by traumatic brain injuries and barred student athletes who are suspected to have a head injury from practicing or playing in games until a health care professional clears their return.  Reps. Marko Liias, Eric Pettigrew, and Pat Sullivan were co-sponsors of the measure.

Today’s national AP story on how New laws on concussions protect student athletes reports that Washington’s Zackery Lystedt law has already served as an inspiration and/or template for laws in 31 other states, with more apparently on the way.

Bob Colgate, the assistant director of the National Federation of State High School Associations told the A.P. that awareness of the risks has spread nationwide “among states, the NFL, NCAA and youth football leagues after Washington's state legislature adopted its Zackery Lystedt Law in 2009,” and “the law has served as a template for state legislation.”

Saving even one student athlete from a life-long tragedy is important. The Zackery Lystedt law will save many.  To learn more about this issue, visit the National Conference of State Legislature’s page on Traumatic Brain Injury Legislation. The TVW video of the original House Education Committee hearing on HB 1824 shares the personal story of the athlete who inspired a national movement: