The number of children treated for concussions in the emergency room continues to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there has been a 60% increase in the number of traumatic brain injuries within the last decade. The injured include cyclists, football players, and victims of vehicle and playground accidents.

Why are so many children sustaining traumatic brain injuries? The reasons vary; it depends on who you ask or what research paper you read. But one thing is certain: this is a dangerous statistic that many parents and coaches hope will end before one more child is severely affected by a concussion.

Increased awareness

The most frequent reason experts give for the rise in this type of injury is that people are becoming increasingly aware of concussions. Many schools with football or soccer teams are requiring players, parents and coaches to undergo some sort of mandatory pre-season education and training. Portions of these programs include educating their audience on the signs and symptoms of a concussion, prevention techniques, and ways to help injured athletes recover from a traumatic brain injury.

Additionally, with professional athletic associations like the NHL, NFL and MLB openly discussing concussions with their athletes and the public, many parents and children are now addressing this subject for the first time. Families are slowly realizing that a concussion is more than a simple bump on the head. If left untreated, a concussion could leave a child with permanent brain damage.

Increased competitiveness

Now more than ever youth sports are extremely competitive, and with that comes an increase in players with concussions.

The prospect of earning a college athletic scholarship seems to be the driving force behind the increase in competition. For many parents, the idea of having their child’s college tuition paid for in full or even partially is a dream come true. With the cost of post-secondary education at an all-time high, any financial assistance is welcomed by most American families.

As a result, today’s athletes face enormous pressure to be the best in their sport. If that means tackling harder and getting hurt in the process, then it’s worth it because an athletic scholarship is at stake.

Greater access to team sports

It is estimated that 56.6% of American children between the ages of 6 and 15 are involved in some sort of team sport on a regular basis. With the health, social, and physiological benefits of playing sports well documented, many parents are encouraging their children to get out and play.

Team sports have also become increasingly inclusive and affordable for all age groups. There is a multitude of choices in types of sports leagues available to children, from the ultracompetitive to those that just want the chance to get out and play. Furthermore, the enrollment in contact sports, such as football, soccer, and hockey, has increased significantly in the last 10 years. It comes as no surprise as to why children today are suffering from concussions like never before.

Improved concussion diagnoses

There have been great strides made in terms of how the medical world diagnoses concussions. With increased awareness surrounding concussions, coaches, parents, and medical professionals are routinely on the lookout for children who present with concussion symptoms.

In an era, where access to information about concussions is readily available via the internet, it’s no surprise the number of emergency room concussion cases has increased dramatically across the country.

The reason for team sports

The reasons concussions are on the rise in children are numerous. The explanations afforded in this article are designed to provide some insight for parents of young athletes.

Armed with this information, parents should not only be more aware, but they should also be able to make informed decisions about how they want their children to approach team sports. After all, the goal of playing on a team should be simple: to have fun!