Where and Why  Did the Concussion Awareness Hoopla Start in High School Sports?

Where and Why Did the Concussion Awareness Hoopla Start in High School Sports?

By Dr. Daniel Rancier MD

In 2009 there was a law passed in Washington State called the Zachary Lystedt Law (sometimes called the shake-it-off law).  Since that time all 50 states have adopted similar legislation.  It came about after Zachary Lystedt sustained a head injury while playing in a football game.





The law requires that annually, that the school receives a signed concussion and head-injury information fact sheet from each youth athlete and the athlete’s parent before they practice or compete in sports at the school.

It also requires schools to adopt a policy to:

    • Remove from competition, at the time of suspected injury, a youth athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a game or practice.
    • Prohibit a youth athlete who has been removed from play to return to play until the athlete has written approval by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion.

These concepts are familiar to all of us working in High School Sports.

After making a tackle during a middle school football game, Zachary Lystedt wasn’t able to get up off the field.  He didn’t lose consciousness like most concussions, and after sitting out for a while, he returned to the game.  He played in the 3rd and 4th quarters and after the game ended he collapsed.  He was air-lifted to the hospital where he required two emergency brain surgeries.  He tragically suffered several strokes and spent months in the hospital.  His recovery took years, and to this day he suffers deficits from his head injury.

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