On May 14, 2009, then Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law the “Zackery Lystedt Law.” This first-in-the-nation law, prohibits youth athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion from returning to play or practice without a licensed health-care provider’s approval. The new law is the most comprehensive return-to-play law in the United States for athletes under 18.
In less than 5 years, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed a similar law. This is the fastest growing public safety initiative to go into law in all states, ever. Many states still don’t have seatbelt or helmet laws – public safety initiatives that have been pushed for decades.
Zackery Lystedt and his parents, Victor and Mercedes Lystedt, made it their mission to ensure no family has to go through what they went through. On October 12, 2006, Zackery suffered a life-threatening brain injury during a middle school football game. School coaches returned him to play football after he sustained a concussion, without first obtaining a complete evaluation by a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions. The young football star underwent emergency life-saving brain surgery at Harborview Medical Center after he collapsed on the field. Zackery, now 21 years old, spends 40 hours per week working on his rehabilitation and taking college courses.
What’s next? The Lystedts are pushing to bring the law to the US Congress and make it a federal law. With the support of key national organizations including the NFL, CDC, USA Football, the United States Brain Injury Alliance just to name a few, the Lystedts believe it will happen. The law is also catching on internationally with Canada and Australia calling for interviews with the Lystedts, Richard H. Adler, and Dr. Stanley Herring.
Here are some recent reports on Zackery Lystedt.