By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — Every year about this time there’s a wave of published editorials on the impact of head injuries from football. Most provide scary statistics of long-term affects of head-to-head contact.
There’s no argument that contact sports are dangerous, especially when there’s a possibility of head trauma resulting in concussions. Unfortunately, football has been used as the “example” more than any other sport where contact to the head can and does take place – more than soccer, hockey, boxing, wrestling, basketball, and baseball.
Fortunately there are safety measures taking place to make all sports safer and the Covington Buccaneers are ahead of the curve thanks to a local business assisting in one of the safety measures – providing better mouth protection.
Covington Dental, under the new leadership of Dr. Zach Stueve, recently provided the entire high school football team with custom mouth guards, which will hopefully minimize the threat of concussions.
“Form fitted mouth guards are suppose to help minimize concussions because they are fitted to each individuals mouth and allow for the proper aligning of the jaw joint to better distribute the force through the skull,” said Dr. Stueve. “They are better than the boil and bite mouth guards because they are fitted to each individual’s mouth.”
The custom mouth guards provided to the Covington football players were created using the same process used at the Ohio State University.
“Many colleges do this same process,” Stueve explained. “When I was at Ohio State we did this for the Buckeyes’ football team. We pretty much made the mouth guards the same way.”
With over 50 kids on the Buccaneer football team it was a big challenge to make it work, but Dr. Stueve and his staff inviting the players to come in for fittings on a day when the office was closed to regular patients.
“We had all of the players come in and we took impressions to get a mold of their mouths,” he said. “We then formed the mouth guards with the Covington Buccs logo molded in the front of each mouth guard.”
The benefits of the custom mouth guards go beyond adding additional protection to the athletes. It also increases the ability for the kids to communicate on the field.
“Anyone who has worn a boil and bite mouth guard is well aware of how difficult it is to talk,” Stueve said. “These mouth guards fit much better inside the mouth because they are form fitted. This will allow the kids to talk and communicate easier on the field. It will take the kids some time to get use to wearing them since they are form fitted and feel tighter inside the mouth.”
Fitting an entire football team with additional protection was a huge undertaking for Covington Dental, but Dr. Stueve and his staff were honored to provide the service.
“We are happy to help out the kids,” Dr. Stueve said. “This is a great community and we’re just proud to be a part of it.”