LEGISLATION

BIAWA is dedicated to supporting advocacy and legislation that promote prevention of brain injuries and access to support & services for survivors and their family members.

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Legislative Campaigns

The Tommy Manning Act

RCW 74.31, also known as the Tommy Manning Act, addresses issues related to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The statue recognizes that current programs and services are not funded or designed to address the diverse needs of individuals with traumatic brain injuries.

The intent of the statute is to bring together expertise from the public and private sectors to address the needs and gaps in services for this population.

The Tommy Manning Act created the Washington Traumatic Brain Injury Strategic Partnership Advisory Council (TBI Council) which is made up of twenty-two members from the public and private sector and includes individuals with TBI, medical professionals serving individuals with TBI, human service providers, family members of individuals with TBI, caregivers serving individuals with TBI, and state agency representatives.

The legislation also created the TBI account in the state treasury. Revenues to the account are generated through a two dollar fee imposed for traffic violations governed under RCW 46.63.110(7)(b) that must be deposited into the account. This account supports TBI services throughout the state of Washington which include:

*The Washington TBI Resource Center – a toll free statewide Resource Line as well as in-person Resource Management for adults and pediatrics

*TBI Support Groups

*The Annual TBI Conference

For more information and the complete Final Report – Recommendations for a Comprehensive Statewide Plan from DSHS click here

For the complete text of Washington State Legislature Chapter 74.31 RCW click here

The Zackery Lystedt Law


BIAWA assembled a coalition of partners to advocate for legislation to protect youth while playing the sports they love. In 2009, governor Christine Gergoire signed the nation’s first return-to-play law, which requires medical clearance of youth athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion before sending them back in the game, practice or training. The law (House Bill 1824), known as the Zackery Lystedt Law, requires implementation of well-established years-old guidelines prohibiting youth athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion from returning to play without medical clearance. “This is a common-sense law that makes youth sports safer and helps prevent preventable brain injuries,” said Richard Adler of BIAWA.

The bill was inspired by Zackery Lystedt of Maple Valley. Zackery suffered a life-threatening brain injury on October 12, 2006. 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. After collapsing on the field at the end of the game, the then 13-year-old Zackery underwent emergency life-saving brain surgery at Harborview Medical Center. Zackery remains dependent on a wheelchair and 24/7 supervision for his needs.

More than 173,000 sports-related concussions occur each year in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Zackery’s injuries could and should have been avoided. This legislation provides the protection he should have received. Well-established return-to-play rules following a concussion must now be communicated by school officials to coaches, student athletes, and parents,” Adler said.

As of July 2012, 38 states (plus the District of Columbia and the city of Chicago) have adopted youth concussion laws, many with the guidance of the Brain Injury Association of Washington.

Key Provisions of the Law:

Youth athletes who are suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury must be removed from play. “When in doubt, sit them out.”

• School districts must work with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) to develop information and policies on education of coaches, youth athletes and parents about the nature and risk of concussion, including the dangers of returning to practice or competition after a concussion.

• All student athletes and their parents/guardians must sign an information sheet about concussion and head injury prior to the youth athlete’s initiating practice at the start of each season.

• Youth athletes who have been removed from play must receive written medical clearance prior to returning to play from a licensed health-care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion.

• Private, nonprofit youth sports associations wanting to use publicly owned playfields must comply with this law - NFL Health & Safety Updated State-by-State Legislation.

Other Helpful Links:


The National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) supports TBI funding and an array of issues that impact education, employment, health care, housing, and other issues that affect individuals with TBI, including veterans and returning service members and their families. www.nashia.org

Disability Rights Washington (DRW) is a private non-profit organization that protects the rights of people with disabilities statewide. www.disabilityrightswa.org