Zackery Lystedt Law and Head Injury Resources

What is the Lystedt Law?

The Zackery Lystedt Law—signed by Washington Governor Christine Gregoire on May 14, 2009 and effective July 26, 2009—requires school districts and nonprofit organizations using school facilities to adopt policies for the management of concussion and head injury in youth sports.

Why was the bill written?

The bill was spurred by the Lystedt family, whose 13-year-old boy Zackery suffered a hard blow to the head in a football game in October of 2006. Zackery returned to the game shortly after the hit. Returning to play exacerbated Zackery's initial injury, which was likely an undiagnosed concussion, and the situation became an emergency. Zackery experienced permanent brain damage that caused severe physical impairments which, at his high school gradutation in June 2011, he was still working to overcome. Zackery's family has learned that if he had not returned to the game following the initial head injury, he likely would have experienced full or near full recovery. Zackery and his family lobbied for this law in order to educate parents, coaches, and players, and to prevent similar injuries to other youth athletes.

How does the Lystedt Law affect participants in DiscNW events?

As a user of school-owned fields, DiscNW is responsible for following the Lystedt Law. The WIAA has developed the following guidelines for coaches, parents, and players:

  • Coaches are required to sign a statement indicating that they have been educated as to the nature and risk of head injuries. DiscNW will provide training on this topic in conjunction with the coaches' meeting that occurs before each youth league. If a coach suspects that a player has a head injury, (s)he is required to immediately remove that player from the practice or game: "When it doubt, sit them out." A player that has been removed from competition cannot return to play until (s)he has been evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion and has received written clearance to return to play from that health care provider. Finally, coaches are responsible for educating their athletes regarding the nature and risk of head injuries, and encouraging athletes to notify a coach if they notice signs of a head injury in themselves or their teammates.
  • Parents/Guardians are required to review and sign an annual concussion and head injury information sheet prior to their children's participation in DiscNW events.
  • Athletes are required to review and sign an annual concussion and head injury information sheet prior to their participation in DiscNW events. If they suspect a head injury in themselves or a teammate, they are encouraged to tell their coach.

How can I learn more about head injuries and concussions?

  • Concussion Training—A 15-minute training video presented by WIAA, Harborview Medical Center, UW Medicine, Seattle Children's, and the Brain Injury Association of Washington.
    • This is the video that coaches must watch every academic year to train themselves for the season.
    • However, we also recommend additional education (see other resources in this table).
  • WIAA Concussion Management Slideshow
  • WIAA Concussion Management Quiz—Test your knowledge after watching the video and/or the slideshow above.

How can I learn more about Zachary Lystedt and the Lystedt Law?

Here are several links with information about the Lystedt Law.