Auburn Riverside defenders bring down Kennedy Catholic’s Junior Alexander during North Puget Sound League Mountain Division action in Oct. 2018 at Auburn Memorial Stadium. Photo by Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter

Auburn Riverside defenders bring down Kennedy Catholic’s Junior Alexander during North Puget Sound League Mountain Division action in Oct. 2018 at Auburn Memorial Stadium. Photo by Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter

Lawmakers push concussion awareness and best practices in sports

SB 5238 requires University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center to compile research data

By Emma Epperly, WNPA Olympia News Bureau

A website outlining concussions in lower-impact sports, best practices and research would be created under Senate Bill 5238, which was heard Feb. 18 in the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

Prime sponsor Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, told a story about a friend who coaches girls youth soccer and had discussed the increase in head injuries in the sport. This bill is Carlyle’s solution to putting more information into the public sphere and tackling an issue he regrets not approaching earlier, according to his public testimony.

“We have great information, great people, and we are not doing a great job of getting that out there,” said Carlyle, who represents District 36.

SB 5238 requires University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center to compile research data and best practices concerning concussions in sports. It also requires the university to maintain a website with concussion-related information and resources. This information would include a set of best practices on topics like concussion recognition; parent, teacher and coach information; and information on concussions in non-high impact sports. The website would be created and maintained in conjunction with Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). The website creation, maintenance and marketing would cost $ 98,000 in this first biennium and $ 77,000 each following biennium, according to the fiscal note.

Ian Goodhew, director of government relations for UW Medicine, testified in support of the bill.

“There’s a long history to this issue in Washington state, one we should be very proud of,” he said.

In 2009, the Legislature passed the Zackery Lystedt Law requiring the approval of a health care provider for a young athlete to return to a game. Lystedt is a Tacoma High School graduate who suffered a traumatic brain injury playing football in 2006.

The Lystedt Law has since been, in some form, adopted by the majority of states and focuses on return-to-play requirements. SB 5238 adds further previsions to this law.

In January 2018, Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski committed suicide. He was later found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE, a brain condition associated with repeated blows to the head.

According to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, players from 147 college football programs have been diagnosed with CTE. A recent study, featured in Time Magazine, found that the earlier onset of symptoms associated with persistent head injuries is associated with the age in which an individual begins playing tackle football.

Studies on CTE are not limited to football, however, and fewer studies have been done on other sports.

The bill received support from Seattle Children’s Hospital, Washington State Athletic Trainers Association and Washington Education Association, among others.

More in Sports

Interlake High School 2017 graduate will be in the starting lineup as defensive back for the Montana Tech Orediggers this fall on the gridiron. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Interlake star is making his mark at Montana Tech

Naoki Harmer is looking forward to his third football season in Butte, Montana.

Goucher to conduct summer baseball camp

Eastside will host two camps.

Bellevue softballers earn all-state honors

Bellevue High’s Kelly Treves was named to the first team of the… Continue reading

Bellevue Bulldogs sophomore basketball player Parker Manalo (pictured) signs a letter of intent with the Northwest University Eagles men’s basketball program in early June. Manalo will be a junior for the Northwest Eagles during the 2019-20 season. Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Bulldogs men’s basketball Twitter feed
Manalo signs his name on the dotted line

Bellevue College sharpshooter will continue hoops career in Kirkland.

The Thunderbird Little League intermediate all-star baseball team, which is comprised of 12- and 13-year-olds from Bellevue, won a state tournament title on July 6 in Vancouver, Washington. They will compete at the regional tournament, which kicks off on July 17 in Nogales, Arizona. Photo courtesy of Eric Carnrite
Diamond stars win a state championship

Bellevue’s Thunderbird Little League intermediate team captures a state crown.

Interlake Saints football players participate in a tackling drill during a spring football practice session on June 19 in Bellevue. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Building for a promising future on the football field

Saints are striving for improvement in all facets of the game.

An engraved bench sits on the banks of the Sammamish River around the corner from the Sammamish Rowing Association boathouse in Redmond. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo
Eastside rowers etch their mark at national regatta

Sammamish Rowing Association boat wins C final, takes 13th overall.

Newport Knights head football coach Drew Oliver gives his players advice on the importance of proper technique during a spring football practice session on June 10 in Factoria. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Knights football program focuses on the fundamentals

Drew Oliver is an old-school kind of coach on gridiron.

Wolverines girls golf team wins 3A state title

Bellevue dominates on the links this past May.

Sammamish Totems running back Benja Cook (pictured) goes through a set of drills during a spring practice session on June 5 at Sammamish High School in Bellevue. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Totems are focusing on the fundamentals during spring sessions

Sammamish football program will continue to build in Rylen Akana’s third season on sidelines.

The Newport Knights girls water polo squad captured fifth place at the state tournament on May 25 in University Place. Photo courtesy of Melissa Golan
Knights girls water polo team earns fifth place at state tournament

Newport brings home hardware from final tourney of 2019.

Newport Knights senior Ashleigh Helms (pictured) earned first place in the pole vault at the 4A state track meet on May 24 at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Kerste Helms
Helms earns first place in pole vault at 4A state track meet

Newport senior captures an individual title.