On May 14th 2009, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the nation's toughest youth athlete return-to-play law.
The new law (House Bill 1824), known as the Zackery Lystedt Law, requires medical clearance of youth athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion, before sending them back in the game, practice or training.
The new law is the most comprehensive return-to-play law in the United States for athletes under 18. More than 3.5 million sports-and-related concussions occur each year in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Key provisions of the new law require:
Youth athletes who are suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury be removed from play. "When in doubt, sit them out"
School districts to work with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) to develop information and policies on educating coaches, youth athletes and parents about the nature and risk of concussion, including the dangers of returning to practice or competition after a concussion or head injury.
All student athletes and their parents/guardians sign an information sheet about concussion and head injury prior to the youth athlete's initiating practice at the start of each season.
Youth athletes who have been removed from play receive written medical clearance prior to returning to play from a licensed health-care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion.
Private, nonprofit youth sports associations wanting to use publicly owned playfields comply with this law.