Dallas, Texas (NAPSI) - According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.6 to 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions, occur each year. Most concussions go undiagnosed and untreated, which increases the risk of serious long-term effects in athletes.

In light of the media’s recent attention on the NFL and NHL players’ lawsuits, parents might understandably be concerned for the safety of their children. Parents can protect their children by recognizing the signs of a concussion and following a few helpful tips.

Signs To Watch For

All concussions are serious. Call 911 or immediately take the athlete to the emergency room, after a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body, if the athlete has:

• An enlarged pupil

• Drowsiness

• A headache that gets worse

• Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination

• Repeated vomiting or nausea

• Slurred speech

• Convulsions or seizures

• An inability to recognize people or places

• Increasing confusion, restlessness or agitation

• Unusual behavior

• Loss of consciousness.

After a concussion, the brain needs time to heal. Athletes who have incurred a concussion have a greater risk of sustaining another. Repeat concussions, especially those that occur before full recovery, can increase the chances for severe issues later in life.

Safety-First Tips

Three ways to help minimize the risks for brain injuries are:

1. Keep the lines of communication open among parents, players and coaches. It’s important that all parties feel comfortable talking about concerns that arise, including pulling an athlete from play when he or she is hurt.

2. Make sure athletes always wear proper, well-fitted protective gear.

3. Ensure that athletes follow the rules of their sport and practice proper technique, such as safe, “clean” tackles.

Having suffered from multiple concussions himself, athlete and lacrosse coach Nick Stamas knows how easy it can be for an athlete to ignore or push through the symptoms of a concussion. “As an athlete, I had this mentality of ‘I can do it all.’ When it comes to concussions, you can’t be that way. You have to take a step back and listen to the professionals.”

Through the help of CoachUp.com, Stamas coaches athletes on technique and safe play. CoachUp connects athletes with experienced private coaches for one-on-one and small-group coaching. Enlisting the help of a private coach can be a wise investment for parents. A private coach can help improve an athlete’s skill level and increase his or her confidence in play. Just as important, a private coach can be a resource for an athlete to share injury concerns and seek training advice.

Parents can help reduce the risk of brain injuries from sports by following these tips and by educating their children on concussion symptoms. Proper coaching and familiarity with concussion symptoms are keys to ensuring the healthy future of all athletes.

Learn More

More at www.coachup.com and (888) 680-4750.