The GAA have announced details of the forthcoming national roll-out of the compulsory wearing of mouthguards in all underage grades up to and including minor for Gaelic football matches and practice sessions from January 1 2013.
In addition, from January 1 2014, this rule will apply to all players at all age grades. The move to make the wearing of mouthguards obligatory reiterates the Association’s long-term commitment to player welfare.
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.
Significantly, if a player refuses to comply he can be sent-off and players will not be covered under the GAA Player Injury Scheme if they are not wearing a mouthguard.
This introduction was welcomed by the GAA’s Medical, Scientific & Welfare Committee who 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.
The GAA/GPA have also launched the official OPRO GAA/GPA ‘stock’ and ‘boil and bite’ mouthguards, a joint commercial venture on the part of the GAA and GPA. The mouthguards will range in price from €8 to €33 and will be available for purchasing through local retailers: SuperValu, Centra, Lifestyle and Elverys. GAA Clubs can order mouthguards directly from O’Neills Sports.
It is accepted that custom-fitted mouthguards offer the best protection and Official Opro custom fitted mouthguards will be available from a network of dentists.
Further information on mouthguard guidelines can be found at: http://www.gaa.ie/medical-and-player-welfare/mouthguards/