We pursue policies and support legislation that promote sports safety and health.

Our advocacy includes:

  • Promoting sound policies that advance sports health and safety
  • Educating sports organizations and government agencies about the benefits of sports
  • Promoting healthy physical activity and behaviors
  • Engaging media to address issues surrounding sports health and safety
  • Providing expert guidance for legislative initiatives
  • Establishing best practices for clinical care

Zackery Lystedt Law

The Institute was largely inspired by the personal story of Zackery Lystedt, a Washington teenager who returned to play after suffering a concussion in a football game. He was treated for major head injuries at Harborview Medical Center, an entity of UW Medicine. Our advocacy helped lead to the Zackery Lystedt Law, which regulates athletes’ return to play after a suspected concussion. It was first passed in Washington, and quickly adopted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The laws require removing an athlete with a possible concussion from play. They are designed to encourage athletes to report symptoms of a concussion and protect athletes once they have one. Their essential tenets include:

  • Education about concussion for athletes, parents or guardians and coaches before the season begins
  • Immediate removal from practice or play of any athlete who has a suspected concussion
  • Clearance by a medical professional before the athlete can return to sports

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has adopted similar guidelines.

Return to Learn

The Lystedt Law regulates athletes’ return to play after suspected concussion. But we do not have guidelines in place for when a student athlete may return to the classroom. Much more work on this is needed. The Institute is partnering with colleagues to convene an expert panel of stakeholders to discuss unmet needs of students returning to learn after concussion and to help develop statewide guidelines.


Advocacy Contact

The Sports Institute at UW Medicine is proud to serve as a point of connection for our community, parents, coaches, athletes, families and providers. Please contact us to learn more about our advocacy work or to inform us of your work.