Evaluation and management of concussion in student athletes is an important area of practice for many neuropsychologists, and in recent years, concern about the safety of student athletes has entered into our national dialogue. The Zackery Lystedt Law passed in 2009 in Washington State in response to a young man who was severely disabled after he sustaining a brain injury during a football game and returning to play after halftime, resulting in experiencing significant and disabling complications. It is viewed as a “model law” for other states to follow in creating legislation to protect student athletes from negative outcomes of returning to play when still symptomatic.
The law includes Zackery Lystedt Brain Project’s Three Principles:
- Education for coaches, athletes, and parents/guardians
- Removal from play for athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury
- No return to play until the athlete is evaluated by a licensed health care provider (LHCP) trained in the evaluation and management of concussion and receives written clearance.
Most states have laws that vary in the degree to which they cover the three principles and in the degree to which they allow neuropsychologists to make independent return to play decisions. The NAN LAAC has been involved in advocating for the independent practice of neuropsychologists by writing letters of support or suggestions for changes, offering meetings with key legislators, sending action alerts to members, and coordinating efforts with other professional organizations. Examples of letters and a spreadsheet with state laws are available to NAN members.
Click here to login to your member account to view the following:
- Letter 1 to Senator Vitale
- Letter 2 to Senator Vitale
- Letter to Senator Durbin
- Letter to Assemblyman Diegnan
- Letter to Education Policy Associate Broughnan
- State Laws Spreadsheet