Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a House bill into the Zackery Lystedt law Thursday morning. It prohibits athletes under 18 suspected of sustaining a concussion from returning to play without a licensed health care provider's approval.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington now has what advocates say is the nation’s toughest return-to-play law for concussions in American high school sports.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a House bill into the Zackery Lystedt law Thursday morning. It prohibits athletes under 18 suspected of sustaining a concussion from returning to play without a licensed health care provider’s approval.

The law, sponsored by Rep. Jay Rodne, R-North Bend, requires each of the state’s school districts to work with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association to develop a standard for educating coaches, players and parents of the dangers of concussions and head injuries.

Zackery Lystedt is a 16-year-old in Maple Valley. He suffered a life-threatening brain injury on Oct. 12, 2006, after he returned to play football following a concussion.

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