Head Injuries Q & A
with Don Andreassen
Doug Andreassen is the president of Washington Youth Soccer for two and a half years. During his term, Andreassen has brought forth a constitutional convention process that has created a new constitution and bylaws for the State Association. In addition to a host of other initiatives, he is a member of the USSF Diversity Committee.
How was Washington Youth Soccer involved in the passing of the Zachery Lysteadt bill?
Washington Youth Soccer assisted in developing a coalition of agencies, individuals, trauma care centers, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, medical doctors, Washington State Interscholastic Athletic Association, Brain Injury Association of Washington State, Center for Disease Control, Washington Department of Health, Risk Management Association, Canfield and Associates, Medical Trainers Assoc., Physical Trainers Assocation and a host of other partners that were critical for development of this legislation. Washington Youth Soccer attended and became an integral part of the sponsorship of this legislation. We took part in visits with legislative leaders both in our communities and our state legislature. We cooperated with all of the agencies listed here in an effort to influence public policy for the passage of this legislation.
Why was it important for Washington Youth Soccer to get involved in the bill?
It was critical for Washington Youth Soccer to become involved in this legislation due to the following statement. The highest number of injuries occurs in Girls Soccer, by imposing these requirements with respect to school property, and private complex’s 95% of sports injuries will be covered under the law. We believe that there is nothing more important to us then protecting our children’s brains, they need them for life. The education of head injuries is an education process that will last for the life of all of these athletes, parents and coaches. We are here to serve youth and if we do not protect them through these methods, what is the use of our State Associations. We are largest youth sports organization in our state as well as inthe United States, without our sponsorship the possibility of this bill failing was very likely.
How do you hope this bill will help the youth soccer players in your state?
This legislation will help and has helped prevent further injury to not only our athletes; it also covers all athletes that participate in their school programs as well. This legislation protects players not only from the first concussion; it also protects them from the all too critical secondary concussion. It is often the secondary concussion that causes the damage.
How have you shared this information with your members, parents, coaches and referees?
We have shared this information in a variety of methods. We used our automated online registration system, e-mail blasts to all members, our e-newsletter and our printed version of our state newspaper, “Play On,” and our annual soccer event, Soccer Palooza. We have also had discussions with parents, coaches and referees at their various meetings held throughout the state of Washington.
What resources have you provided to assist your membership with the new initiative?
The resources that we have provided is a complete section on our Web site that provides links to the actual bill legislation, links to documentaries news programs such as CBS news, 60 Minutes, NBC News, a host of other National news sites in addition to the local affiliates who have helped us spread the message to our members. We have also provided all documentation and forms in Spanish to our Hispanic population. We also have provided links to the local trauma centers for further information on this critical issue, as well as links to the National Center for Disease Control.