Enrolling your child in school sports is a great choice for many reasons: it increases the child’s exercise and activity levels, encourages team playing, identifies areas of leadership, and builds confidence. But despite the safety efforts on behalf of parents and teachers, children’s injuries still happen—and more commonly, these injuries often come in the form of traumatic brain injury.

But now, a new study at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that parents, teachers, and coaches have taken a proactive approach to treating children who may be affected with traumatic brain injury (TBI), Time magazine reports. The conclusion comes after the study revealed that hospitals saw a spike in treating TBIs from 2001 to 2009. The increase in treatment, however, was not attributed to an increase in injuries; rather, researchers have attributed the spike to increased awareness of TBIs in children. Had there been a true increase in incidence, there would have also been a subsequent increase in hospital admittance. Fortunately, there was no increase in hospital admission for those who reported a possible TBI.

“These injuries were always there. It’s not that there are more injuries now. It’s just that now people are getting treatment that they weren’t getting before,” said an interim director of the University of North Carolina’s Injury Prevention and Research Center, told USA Today.

The reporting of head injuries had increased from roughly 153,000 cases in 2011 to just over 248,000 in 2009, generally due to contact sports like football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. However, playground injury attributed for most visits to the ER for children under 10 years of age.

Over recent years, contact sports have been known to produce serious injury, especially traumatic brain injury. Baseball and football players are especially prone to injury due to the velocity of balls which may make contact with a player’s head, and rough bodily contact which can result in a TBI or concussion.

The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research estimates that concussions are unfortunately all too common for children who are involved in contact sports as nearly 500,000 concussions are reported annually.

Safety is the best prevention against a child’s traumatic brain injury

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury. Consider the following tips when considering contact sports for your child.

Always enforce the helmet rule

Remember, helmets are not optional gear: they are an absolute must for helping to prevent head injury. Whether your child is bicycling or playing football – even recreationally – always enforce a helmet rule for your child. Coaches should also strongly enforce helmet use at all times.

Talk to your child’s coach

It’s okay to talk to your child’s coach about your safety preferences. This is especially important if your child suffers from medical conditions such as epilepsy, low blood pressure, fainting spells, or other medical conditions that may require extra care or supervision.

Learn how to spot a TBI

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of a TBI so it can be treated as early as possible. Symptoms include complaints of head and neck pain, nausea or vomiting, sleepy or difficult to wake your child up, irritable, or irregular walking patterns. Learn more at KidsHealth.org.

If your child has been injured in contact sports

Unfortunately, injuries can happen even after safety precautions have been followed. If your child has suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may be entitled to financial recovery. Call Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, LLP. at 1-858-551-2090 and speak to a personal injury lawyer who will review your case free of charge.