A new study has found that bracing yourself before an accident could help minimize brain injuries.

The study, which was conducted by the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, collected data from collision during youth hockey games. Using special helmets on 16 players on the team, the brain injury researchers tracked the force of impacts on the players while also noting whether or not the players saw a hit coming and braced themselves. The results conclusively found that players who saw an impact coming were better able to control the force at which their head was struck.

How can this information help prevent brain injuries in youth sports, and in general? Researchers say that coaches now know how important it is for their players to be aware while on the ice or on the field – and all people can take home the lesson that being prepare for something, even an impact, can improve outcomes.