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Concussions in Youth Athletes - Washington

Washington

The Washington law (the Zackery Lystedt law) can be found at sections 28A.600.190 of the Washington Code under title for Common School Provisions and 4.24.660 under Liability of school districts under contract with youth programs. (Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.600.190 and § 4.24.660).

Washington law requires each school district in conjunction with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association to develop guidelines and information about concussions to be given to parents and students annually. Annually, the student and parent/guardian must sign and return this information sheet before the student may participate in the activity. A student suspected of sustaining a concussion must be removed immediately from play and may not return until evaluated by a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and cleared in writing.

Under section 4.24.660, a private non-profit group using school property during the delivery of a youth program must provide proof of insurance and a certificate of compliance with concussion management policy and cardiac arrest awareness required under the Washington Law. This section defines youth programs as any program or service offered by a private nonprofit group that is operated primarily to provide persons under the age of 18 with opportunities to participate in services or programs. This section defines youth programs as any program or service, offered by a private nonprofit group, that is operated primarily to provide persons under the age of 18 with opportunities to participate in services or programs.

The official versions Washington Code Sections 28A.600.190 and 4.24.660 are currently available online at:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=28A.600.190

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=4.24.660

The following websites offer additional information regarding Washington Concussion law:

http://www.wiaa.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=623

http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Schools/EnvironmentalHealth/ConcussionManagement

On July 24, 2015, a new State of Washington law regarding sudden cardiac arrest awareness went into effect. SB 5083 – referred to as the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Awareness Act – was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor with the intent of making youth athletes, their families, and coaches aware of sudden cardiac arrest. Similar to the Zachery Lystedt Law (HB 1824) for concussion awareness passed in 2009, SB 5083 specifically outlines requirements for private nonprofit groups, such as local Little Leagues, to comply with prior to their first use of school facilities in Washington State by the private nonprofit group. For the local Little Leagues, this means that each league that requests the use of school fields/facilities must comply with SB 5083 before the school district will allow use of their facilities.

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has been charged by the Legislature with providing resources for school districts and private nonprofit groups to comply with the new law and raise awareness of this important issue.

Requirements for all Private Nonprofit groups using School Facilities

In order to comply with SB 5083, there are three main areas of immediate action for private nonprofit groups like local Little Leagues:

  1. Annual Statement of Compliance (waiver) from Parent/Guardian and Player – each year, prior to the beginning of the season, each registered player and the player’s parents and/or guardian must sign and submit to the league a statement of compliance that the player and parents have both reviewed an online pamphlet providing information about sudden cardiac arrest.

  2. Coach Training and Certificate of Completion Every Three Years - every three years, each youth coach and assistant coach must complete an online sudden cardiac arrest prevention program and submit a certificate showing completion of the program to the league. WIAA is still working on the training program for coaches; in the meantime, WIAA recommends the use of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NHFS) online training. The training takes approximately 15 minutes and is available for free at https://nfhslearn.com/courses/61032.

  3. Statement of Compliance from Private Nonprofit group - when a local league plans to use the fields of a school, it must then submit to the school district a Statement of Compliance, which is a certificate stating that it has the statements of compliance from the players and parents/guardians and the training certificates of completion from the coaches, in compliance with the Act.

The Statement of Compliance must also certify and provide proof of insurance meeting the requirements of the Act. The insurance policy requirements are:

  • an accident and liability policy with coverage of at least $50,000 for bodily injury or death of one person or at least $100,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in any incident; and

  • issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in Washington State.

The Act specifically applies to clubs/associations using school facilities.