When you are a parent of a child that is interested in sports, you are likely excited about the new life skills and development that is bound to happen for your child through the experience. On the flip side, you may be worried about the potentials dangers associated with playing sports, including the time-commitment and more seriously, the injuries.

You can’t deny that there is a change of injury in any sport and that the time commitment involved will affect other areas of life, from homework to family time. For most parents, the risks are minimal enough and the benefits of playing sports are high enough to want to have their children included in a team.

One of the best things parents can do for their young athletes is to be proactive to avoid serious injuries such as concussions in order to keep the risk at a minimum. From incorporating the “buddy system” to wearing the right gear, here are some tips for young athletes to make sure you are keeping the likelihood of a concussion to a minimum.

What causes a concussion?

There is nothing worse than experiencing a bang to the head during a contact sport whether it’s from another player or hitting the ground. Even with a helmet, there are times that physical activity can be enough to cause a concussion.brain-bandage

Those young athletes that are very involved in contact sports are more likely to end up with a concussion, which is essentially your brain shaking and rolling inside the skull. Having the brain jarred inside the skull from a fall or blow to the head is how a concussion occurs, leading to physical symptoms of headaches, changes in mood, and disruptions in sleep. The only way to minimize the possibility is to be educated on concussions and to take precautions with your young athletes.

Be proactive

It’s important that you start being proactive with your young athletes when it comes to concussion risks and safety measures. For example, having your children get involved with a “buddy system” will allow you to put your fears at ease knowing that your child will have a teammate to report to when experiencing any symptoms of a concussion.

This teammate would then report to your child in the event that he or she is experiencing concussion-like symptoms including any blows to the head, dizziness, and light-headedness. This “buddy system” would make it easier for your children and the other young athletes to get the assistance of an adult, coach, or teacher if a potential concussion has occurred.

Another way your young athletes can be proactive is to start wearing all of the appropriate gear. If you have been putting off purchasing a helmet or you are wearing one that is too big, it’s time to get the appropriate size and fit for your child. A helmet isn’t going to stop concussions from happening, but they can definitely protect your child from serious head injuries and reduce the chance of a concussion.

Along with the right gear, it’s important that your child and the other athletes are playing far, practicing good sportsmanship, and tackling properly through training. Strengthening the neck during training will also help to reduce injuries, but having proper instruction in the contact sport is the most important part.

Lastly, your young athletes need to be just as educated as you are when it comes to concussions. Understanding the causes of concussions will help your children to play safer with other teammates and to protect themselves.

Learning the symptoms of a concussion and having a teammate to talk to if symptoms occur will make it easier to get help right away in the event that one takes place. Have your child work with coaches on instructions, teammates on proper tackling, and a physician for communication on physical health and recognizing concussion symptoms.

While it may cause parents fear to have their children involved in a contact sport, the benefits of being a part of a team should outweigh the risks. Keep your child educated, aware, and proactive to reduce the chances of concussions during their time in sports.