PROTECT YOUR ASSETS
Mouthguards are compulsory in rugby. They help to reduce injuries to the teeth, lips, mouth and tongue, and help to reduce jaw fractures. Since mouthguards became compulsory in 1997 there has been a 47% reduction in rugby-related dental injury claims to ACC. Over half of all dental injuries happen at training. In 2003, the law was tightened to allow referees to enforce wearing of the mouthguards and consequently there have been further reductions. Coaches must ensure players wear mouthguards at trainings, especially in activities involving collision or body contact.
- Remember it is compulsory that players wear mouthguards during games.
- Check your players have mouthguards — make the big call if they don’t — no mouthguard, no play.
A mouthguard needs to be replaced every season to ensure it provides the best protection.
How to fit a mouthguard
- Place mouthguard over upper teeth to test for size.
- If too long, trim back until comfortable size is achieved.
- Practise pressing mouthguard firmly to roof of mouth with tongue and cheeks whilst biting on mouthguard.
- Place the mouthguard in near boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove with large spoon and shake off water.
- Insert mouthguard immediately in position, and bite firmly but gently to obtain an even bite. The mouthguard whilst feeling warm, will not burn your mouth. It will help to wet the lips with the tongue.
- Whilst in this position, suck the mouthguard into place, by exerting pressure with tongue against the roof of mouth.
- Mould sides of the mouthguard with the cheeks then the forefinger to ensure close fit.
- Finally remove and cool by immersing in cold water.
- If the fit is unsatisfactory, repeat procedure until satisfied.
When correctly fitted, your mouthguard will provide you with a personal fitting designed for maximum protection and comfort. After use, rinse your mouthguard in cold soapy water and store in the airtight container provided. Wear your mouthguard for all sport practices and games.
Research evidence shows that lots of rugby injuries are ‘minor’ — bruises, bumps, cuts and lacerations. Padded equipment such as shoulder and chest/breast pads can help reduce the number of cuts, lacerations and bruises players sustain.
Padded equipment does not appear to protect players against severe injuries, and is not appropriate for allowing injured players to resume participation before they are fully recovered.
- Headgear must be fitted properly and securely to prevent serious cuts to the scalp and ears
- Remember there is no evidence that headgear protects against concussion.
Make sure your players’ boots are in good condition and that they use sprigs appropriate to the playing conditions. Players should not practice scrummaging, rucking or mauling in running shoes or cross-trainers.