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Our History

Since 1982, the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington (BIAWA) has grown substantially, making gainful strides towards offering a complete, robust set of services and resources for individuals living with Brain Injury across Washington State.

Key accomplishments of the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington include:

2009: BIAWA advocates for the passage of the Zackery Lystedt law, a rigorous “return-to-play” law that was the first of its kind in the nation.


In 2009, Zackery Lystedt (13 years old) suffered from second impact syndrome, after returning to play after suffering his first concussion in his middle school football game. After collapsing on the field, Zackery underwent immediate, lifesaving surgery, but lives with a permanent disability as a result of his injury. If there would have been return to play laws in place regarding concussions, this would not have occurred.

Zackery Lystedt inspired the law named after him, which states that no young athlete suspected of a concussion can return to the field without first getting clearance by a licensed medical professional. BIAWA played an integral part in Zackery Lystedt’s effort, assisting to push the bill forward to its signage in 2009 – the first of its kind.

Since 2009, similar law regarding concussion management in youth sports and return to play laws have been installed in all 50 states.


2011: BIAWA hosts its first Concussion Summit in Yakima, Washington.


As the majority of the State of Washington’s professional and advancements in brain injury occur in Western Washington, the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington set forth to raise awareness and provide outreach across the entire state. In conjunction with key members of the team that passed the Lystedt law, including the Lystedt family, attorney Richard Adler, and Dr. Stan Herring, BIAWA launched a series of concussion summits to provide professionals and residents of rural communities with educational opportunities regarding concussion and information on return to play.

Since the initial launch in 2011, BIAWA and its partners have completed six successful concussion summits from Walla Walla to Wenatchee.


2011: BIAWA acquired the Washington Brain Injury Resource Center


BIAWA contracted with the Washington Traumatic Brain Injury Strategic Partnership Advisory Council at DSHS to acquire the Washington Brain Injury Resource Center. Upon receiving the contract, BIAWA expanded in-person support services from four Washington counties to over 20 counties, covering 90% of the brain injury population across the state. Today, BIAWA continues to be at the helm as the leading support for brain injury across Washington, responding to 10,000+ calls per year, and climbing.


2011: BIAWA hires the first in-person Pediatric Resource Manager


BIAWA recognizes that pediatric clients with brain injuries and their supports require unique services, which include but are not limited to: family support & services, educational advocacy, (IEP, 504, IFSP, ITP), establishing independence, navigating personal/professional advocacy, receiving developmentally appropriate interventions and care, etc. To answer this call, BIAWA hired the first dedicated Pediatric Resource Manager to cover King County in 2011. By 2012, Pediatric Resource Management expanded statewide.


2015: BIAWA established the Brain Health & Wellness program.


BIAWA partnered with the Verdant Health Commission to establish the first Brain Health & Wellness program in the nation. These free classes are taught by volunteer professionals and are geared towards promoting individual well-being. The Brain Health & Wellness program has since expanded to MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup and Swedish Cherry Hill Hospital in Seattle. BIAWA looks forward to expanding this program to additional locations in the future.


2018: BIAWA established the Pooled Alliance Community Trust (PACTrusts.org), expanding the long-term, financial planning opportunities for individuals with non-developmental disabilities.


BIAWA created the Pooled Alliance Community Trust (PACTrusts.org) allows individuals with non-developmental disabilities, such as those with acquired brain injuries, to protect their vital healthcare and income benefits, conserve their assets, and improve their quality of life. The PACT is a long-term financial planning solution for those who rely on governmental assistance and allows participants to retain their assets without losing their benefits. For more information on PACT, please visit: PACTrusts.org

Events & Happenings

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BIAWA’s Academic Scholarship Program

Our Academic Scholarship Program is open for the 2019-2020 school year.
Download and complete your Scholarship application before June 30th, 2019

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Your membership supports survivors of Brain Injury across Washington State and beyond. 

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Opening Reception and Exhibition

11th Annual Brain Injury Art Show  at Seattle Art Museum

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