News Wire: May 2009

Washington State now has the nation's strongest laws in protecting young athletes from severe brain injury. 

In October 2006, Zacn Lystedt, from Maple Valley, suffered a concussion in a middle-school football game and returned to the game without a medical evaluation. He took several more hits, and 60 seconds after the game ended, he collapsed. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, one that put him in a coma for months and requires extensive therapy more than two years later.

The Zackery Lystedt Law, the first bill Gregoire signed Thursday morning, was proposed and passed to prevent injuries like Lystedt's -- or worse, deaths from similar trauma.

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The law requires that when an athlete has suffered an apparent brain injury -- whether in a game or practice -- he or she cannot return to play without the approval of a licensed medical professional, which includes certified athletic trainers.

The Governor signed the bill on Thursday, May 14th.  See http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2009221799_headinjuries15.html