Nov
17

Can A Mouth Guard Help Prevent A Concussion?

Concussions suck. Sure, that statement seems rather rudimentary, but it is the honest truth.  I have suffered one, and many football players suffer multiple concussions before they eventually retire.  Recently, I covered a very good law review article, which you should check out before reading this post if you have not seen it yet.  Over the weekend I was sent the following press release, which I am re-publishing because I believe that if there is any method that we can embrace that may help prevent concussions, we might as well be knowledgeable about its existence.

Paula Duffy, National Sports Examiner for Examiner.com and regular contributor to The Huffington Post wrote an article (‘If a Simple Mouth Guard Can Prevent Concussions, Why Isn’t the NFL All Over It?’) that has ignited interest in and directed attention towards ways to reduce or prevent the alarming number of sports-related concussions, especially in the National Football League.

Duffy’s column in the Examiner.com expressing concern for St. Louis Rams quarterback Trent Green and his return to the field after suffering two concussions in one calendar year, including one at the most severe level identified by medical professionals, elicited an informative phone call from Mahercor Laboratories, LLC. Headed up by the New England Patriot’s team dentist for more than two decades, Dr. Gerald Maher, Mahercor Laboratories has developed an innovative mouth guard, The Maher Mouth Guard, which aids in the prevention of concussions for all athletes participating in contact sports, from professionals to youth players.

Dr. Maher says that the current NFL-approved helmet chin strap directly contributes to concussions that arise from a blow to the jaw. It compacts the end of the jawbone against the skull and increases the likelihood of the bone striking the temporal lobe of the brain, increasing the symptoms of dizziness, the sensation of seeing stars and headaches commonly known as a “ding.”

The Maher Mouth Guard helps reduce the chances of suffering from a concussion. The implementation of this properly-fitted mouth guard with the prescribed thickness separates the mandible (lower jaw) from the maxilla (upper jaw). This limits the chance of obtaining a concussion via a direct blow to the jaw. This, as well as wearing properly fitted protective head gear and chin straps allows for the utmost protection from dangerous head trauma.

Duffy’s articles in the Examiner.com and Huffington Post center on the questions surrounding the seemingly inexplicable lack of interest by the NFL to study and approve Dr. Maher’s product which is already successfully used by the New England Patriots, numerous high school and college athletic programs, individual NFL players and a number of boxing, hockey and lacrosse professionals.

A seven year old NFL study with data that is even older (1996-2001) cites an incidence of .41 concussions per game every week during the football season. Duffy’s concern is for players not aware of the anecdotal evidence about the Maher Mouth Guard waiting for the league or their union to give the nod to a product for on-field use. Duffy believes solutions such as those offered by Mahercor Laboratories should be immediately evaluated for use by athletes at risk.

Things may in fact be starting to happen. Researchers recently presented statistical evidence of athletes treated for Temporomandibular (jaw) Disorders (TMD) prior to the fitting of the (Maher) orthotic appliance at the largest collection of concussion experts in the world, the 2008 FIFA International Conference on Concussion in Sport in Zurich Switzerland. This may be the forum needed to fully understand the relevance and benefits of these procedures.

“While a concussion policy in the league has been instituted to prevent players from being forced back onto the field without regard to their health, prevention seems to be the solution in the long run, at least to me,” stated Duffy.

Mahercor Laboratories product line includes The Maher Standard Mouth Guard (LEVEL I), an introductory maxillary stabilizing mouth guard designed for someone involved in a sport where mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) from non-direct impacts to the face and jaw are to be expected. The Maher Intact Mouth Guard (LEVEL II) is designed for anyone involved in a sport where mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) from hard impacts to the face and jaws are to be expected. This mouth guard is composed of a multi-layered laminated EVA material to enhance tooth protection and a patent pending posterior occusal rim to improve condyle disk relationship to lessen the potential for concussions. The Maher B-Protect Splint (LEVEL III) is designed to position the condyle-disc assembly into the optimum position to resist concussive forces.

Since its development, no NFL Player wearing any products in The Mahercor Laboratories product line has ever succumbed to a concussion from a blow to the jaw.

  • Steve

    If were true, FIFA has now recognized this innovation, yet the NFL the place where this mouth guard has been developed over decades, has not been forethcoming about what they know. As a lawyer, what kind of legal ramifications would this have on the league, given the length of time it has been used in the NFL and known to help players. Witholding information from other players in need of this procedure may be what is keeping league officials from openly recognizing it, creating a deeper and deeper legal catch 22.

  • Kent Reilly

    I am a parental-advocate of requiring concussion reducing devices for all interscholastic contact sports. My son sufferred two concussions during his high school soccer career. As a collegiate athlete at a nationally competitive Div. 3 school, I wish I could convince him of the importance of this protective gear. His response is to point out that his English Premier League heros don’t wear them — basically, “It’s not cool”. If required, ‘cool’ is taken out of the equation.

  • http://www.chiropractor-sacramento.com Sacramento Chiropractor

    Here is an interesting perspective about terminology and level of care: http://www.chiropractor-sacramento.com/traumatic-brain-injury-vs-concussion-is-there-a-difference