We`re coming up to the half mark for the hockey season, and we`re guessing a lot of our kids`equipment is well into its second or maybe even third season. For the most part, much of the equipment can take the punishment season to season, and the kids outgrow their gear before wearing it out.
But have you recenty considered your player`s mouthguard?Trainer Peter Nasevski from the Minor Peewee AE team recently noted, "I had a look at the boys' mouthguards before our last game and for most they have seen their better days. If you don’t mind, have a look at your son's mouthguard and get him a replacement if they have chewed it beyond recognition. They are not effective in serving their purpose if they are chewed to bits, especially now that they are playing with body contact."
Many people believe that the mouthguard is there to protect the player's teeth. In actual fact, the mouthguard is an important form of protection against concussion. The mouthguard provides important cushioning in the event of the head being jarred, helping to absorb the impact and helping to protect the impact on the brain. Mouthguards are often cut back or, as Peter noted, chewed so severely as to eliminate their protective capability.
Coach Terry Ogden, also of the Minor Peewee AE squad, added a sober reminder based on an experience not so long ago here in Stouffville with our Clippers:
"…..At last night’s game, a minor midget Stouffville player got jarred during a hit causing him to partially swallow his mouth guard. He managed to make it to the bench and thanks to some quick action by an assistant coach who performed a Heimlich maneuver was able to expel the mouth guard from his throat where it was blocking his air passage. The mouth guard in question was one of the less expensive models that you cut and place in boiling water to fit. In this case the mouth guard had been cut extensively as well as chewed on for the better part of a season. In short, not only would it fail to provide much in terms of protection, it was now in a form where it could and almost did choke the player. This was clearly a freak occurrence, but it might be worth a quick check as to the condition of the mouth guards players are wearing at this stage of the season."
As Parents, we are always aware of the potential risks associated with the sport of hockey. However, we do not normally consider the mouthguard as a hazardous element – ironically we consider it quite the opposite.
Let's all be reminded - safety first - please take the time to check mouthguards, and all of your player's equipment for loose screws, proper fit and protective capability. Here's to our trainers for keeping our kids safe! Let's do our part with a mid-season spot check!
GO TEAMS GO!!!