Following the GAA’s Annual Congress in April 2012 a new rule was enacted that made it mandatory to use a mouthguard in all Gaelic football matches and training sessions from January 1st 2013 (for all age grades up to and including minor) and at U21 and Adult level from January 1st 2014.
Research figures indicate that Ireland has one of the highest rates of sport-related oral injuries in the EU, with one third of all adult dental injuries being sports-related. In many sports such as rugby and hockey the wearing of gumshields is the norm with nearly all clubs adhering strictly to a 'no gumshield - no game' rule. A recent survey of Irish parents found the average cost of emergency dental treatment for sport related dental injuries in children to be €214.23. Studies have also shown that the overall injury risk is close to twice as high when a mouthguard is not worn, relative to when mouthguards were used during athletic activity.
Medical, Scientific & Welfare Committee acknowledge that the use of a
properly fitted mouthguard is the best available protective device for
reducing the incidence and severity of sports-related dental injuries
and was centrally involved in ensuring the introduction of compulsory
mouthguards in Gaelic Football.
Stock mouthguards are preformed and come ready to wear. They are inexpensive and can generally be purchased in sports shops for in or around €5 each. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, they are bulky, can make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide limited protection. Dentists do not recommend their use, nonetheless, once they carry the CE (European Conformity) mark they are acceptable in terms of complying with the new GAA Rules.
Official OPRO GAA/GPA stock mouthguards will be available for purchasing through your local retailers: SuperValu, Centra, Lifestyle and Elverys.
Official OPRO GAA/GPA boil & bite mouthguards will be available for purchasing through your local retailers: SuperValu, Centra, Lifestyle and Elverys. GAA clubs can also order mouthguards directly from O’Neills Sports.
Custom-fitted mouthguards are individually designed and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory based on your dentist's instructions. These will not just offer the best protection against dental and oral injury but they should not affect performance i.e. breathing and speech should be relatively unaffected particularly if these have been worn regularly.
First, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and a mouthguard is then molded over the model using a special material. Due to the use of the special material and because of the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouthguard is more expensive than the other types, but it provides the most comfort and protection.
Official OPRO custom fitted mouthguards will be available from a network of dentists.
Prices can vary significantly and it is worth seeking and comparing prices from a number of practitioners before deciding to purchase. Typically a custom fitted mouthguard should cost between €50 and €75. However, many dental practices offer significant reductions to GAA Clubs who are ordering in bulk. GAA clubs can generally liaise with dental centres and clinics to arrange for someone to visit the club on a given day to take dental impressions from a number of players. Custom fitted mouthguards purchased in bulk in this manner should cost around €30 to €50 each.
To find a list of dentists and dental centres in your area, you can use the Find a Dentist function on the Irish Dental Associations Website - http://www.dentist.ie/find-a-dentist.10.html
WHICH TYPE OF MOUTHGUARD SHOULD I PURCHASE?
In terms of underage players, it should be borne in mind that teeth and mouths are still developing up until about 12 years of age and young players may grow out of custom fitted mouthguards over a period time. However, your dental practitioner is ultimately in the best position to advise in this context.
COMPLYING WITH THE NEW RULE
If a player refuses to comply with a Referee’s instruction to wear a mouthguard, he will incur the penalty as outlined in (Rule 6.2, Rules of Foul Play, The Playing Rules of Football, Official Guide, Part II, 2012) ‘Caution the offender; order off if he persists’.
GAA PLAYER INJURY SCHEME
2. When does the ruling come into effect for adult players?
3. What will happen if I am not wearing a mouthguard in a game?
4. Who is responsible for ensuring mouthguards are worn at training or practice sessions?
5. Do players have to wear a mouthguard in hurling games?
6. I am a Minor playing on an adult team in 2013. Do I have to wear a mouthguard?
7. Our Club has a nursery, are children in these juvenile age groups exempt from wearing a mouthguard?
8. Does the new rule regarding the wearing of Gum Shields apply to Cumann na mBunscol games?
9. If so, who is responsible for ensuring that they should be worn?
10. Do I have to wear a mouthguard whilst playing Second Level games?
11. Do I have to wear a mouthguard whilst playing Third Level games?
12. Does this apply to overseas players?
13. I’m a referee – do I have to check all players mouths before a game to ensure compliance?
14. A supplier of
custom fitted mouthguards has contacted my club and offered to measure
players for custom fitted guards, what does the GAA advise?
15. Which type of mouthguard should I purchase?
16. I currently wear orthodontic braces, what are my options?
17. Is there an official GAA/GPA mouthguard?
If you have any queries or would like more information, please contact Games & Player Welfare Administrator, Ruairí Harvey: Telephone: (0) 1 865 8685; E-mail: email@example.com
If you have any queries in relation to the purchase of official OPRO mouthguards please contact GAA/GPA Business Development Manager, Barry Cahill: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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