Advocating for Oregonians

Working to educate legislators and voters on brain injury issues and assisting survivors and families to the get to the services they need!

The Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon, Inc. is the only statewide 501(c)(3), not-for-profit association dedicated to creating a better future through brain injury prevention, resource facilitation (Information & Referral), education, advocacy, and statewide support groups and peer mentoring.

Founded in 1984, many of its founders have had their own lives altered by brain injuries sustained by themselves, a family member, or friend. Today we are a leader in this field.

BIAOR’s leadership represents a cross section of stakeholders in the field of brain injury, including survivors, family members, medical and clinical practitioners, attorneys, researchers and service providers. Since its inception, BIAOR has worked tirelessly to raise public awareness, prevent brain injury by education, improve treatments through professional education and research, and advocate for progressive change in the law.

Legislation Helping Oregonians

2018 – SB 1547: Oregon Chiropractors, Naturopathic Physicians, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists May Assess ‘Return to Play’ in Concussed Student Athletes
Legislation passed in Oregon in 2018, Senate Bill 1547, inserts chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, physical therapists and occupational therapists into the list of qualified health professionals who may assess a concussed student athlete and provide a release for that athlete to begin the current evidence-based process for return to play and academic protocols.   The law requires the non-MD providers to first complete a special course that will be produced by Oregon Health and Sciences University. Read the bill.  

2016 – Governor’s Task Force Report
Individuals with brain injury often experience a complex blend of physical, sensory, cognitive and/or psychological challenges that defy easy categorization, therefore precluding access to coordinated, culturally sensitive services and staff trained to serve their unique needs on an on-going basis. In children, the challenges can be even more complex, as the effects of TBI often emerge over time, when expectations for independence at school and home increase.

To further understand and recommend policy-based solutions to address gaps, Governor John Kitzhaber signed an Executive Order in 2013 to convene the Governor’s Task Force (GTF) on TBI to gather information, inform policy recommendations within and across state agencies/private sector entities (see Appendix A). It was comprised of various stakeholder groups, including individuals with TBI, family members, medical professionals, advocacy groups, Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon, Disability Rights Oregon and state agency representatives from Oregon Departments of Addictions & Mental Health, Corrections, Education (ODE), Human Services (DHS), Veterans Affairs (ODVA), and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Individuals with specific expertise were also invited to contribute background information and policy recommendations (see Appendix B). Read final report.

2013- SB 721 Jenna’s Law Sports Concussion Legislation
Fact Sheet – Relating to youth athletic team safety. Imposes on non-school athletic teams requirements for recognizing and responding to possible concussions. Annual concussion training for all coaches and referees; remove from play if showing signs and/or symptoms of concussion and must have a medical release to return to play; distribution of information concussion to parents and students 12 and over, both required to sign form confirming receipt of information. 

2007 – March as Brain Injury Awareness Month in Oregon
The month of March in each year is designated as Brain Injury Awareness Month. All Oregon citizens are urged to recognize that knowing the consequences of traumatic brain injury is critical to public understanding, and that this understanding can lead to the prevention of traumatic brain injury and enhance the recovery process for traumatic brain injury survivors.  SJR 21  

2009 – Max’s Law – Sports Concussion SB 348

Requires each school district to ensure that coaches receive annual training to learn how to recognize the symptoms of a concussion and how to seek proper medical treatment for a person suspected of having a concussion.

A coach may not allow a member of a school athletic team to participate in any athletic event or training on the same day that the member: (A) Exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion following an observed or suspected blow to the head or body; or (B) Has been diagnosed with a concussion.

Concussion Legislation by State

The NFL supports and recognizes the laws which include the following 3 points in their legislation including:

  1.  Inform and educate youth athletes, their parents and guardians and require them to sign a concussion information form;
  2.  Removal of a youth athlete who appears to have suffered a concussion from play or practice at the time of the suspected concussion; and
  3.  Requiring a youth athlete to be cleared by a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions before returning to play or practice.

Interactive Map: State Laws Concerning Sport-Related Concussions

Youth By the beginning of 2013, a total of 49 states and the District of Columbia had legislation to prevent concussions and to limit further injury to student athletes who sustain concussions, with most of these laws mandating that student athletes who experience a concussion be removed from play and obtain a health care provider’s permission before returning to play.

SB 381– TBI Health Care Mandate

All health care plans serving members in the state of Oregon must provide coverage of medically necessary therapy and services for the treatment of traumatic brain injury.

1994/2004/2015 – Bicycle Helmet Laws

It’s been a law in Oregon since enacted in 1994 – if you are under 16 you must wear a helmet when riding a bike. The law was expanded in 2004 to include skateboards, scooters and in-line skates.

ORS 814.485ORS 801.305, and ORS 801.400, ORS 815.052,  OAR 735-102-0030, and 16 CFR Part 1203.  See also Bicycle Helmet Standards.

1988- Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Laws


  1. Center for Disease Control, Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  2. Kennedy JE, Jaffee MS, Leskin GA, Stokes JW, Leal FO, Fitzpatrick PJ (2007). Posttraumatic stress disorder-like symptoms and mild traumatic brain injury. Journal of Rehabilitation & Development, 44:895-920.
  3. Selassie AW, Zaloshnja E, Langlois JA, Miller T, Jones P, Steiner C (2008). Incidence of long-term disability following traumatic brain injury hospitalization, United States, 2003. Journal of Head Trauma and Rehabilitation, 23: 123-31.
  4. HRSA Professional Shortage Areas, Retrieved June 9, 2008.

Returning to work is a goal that drives most survivors of brain injury through the long and difficult rehabilitation process. Subsequently, when this goal is finally achieved, there is often difficulty adjusting to expectations of the workplace.

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