Hockey is a fast-paced and physical sport that involves a lot of contact between players. It is no surprise that players wear protective gear such as helmets, pads, and gloves to prevent injuries. However, one piece of protective gear that is often missing is the mouthguard. In this article, we will explore why hockey players do not wear mouthguards and the potential consequences of not wearing one.
One reason why hockey players do not wear mouthguards is the cost. Mouthguards can be expensive, especially if they need to be custom-fitted by a dentist. Some players may not want to invest in a mouthguard, especially if they are not required to wear one by their league or team.
Additionally, mouthguards can wear out or become damaged over time, requiring replacement. This can add to the cost and inconvenience of wearing a mouthguard.
Another reason why hockey players may not wear mouthguards is discomfort. Mouthguards can be bulky and make it difficult to speak or breathe. They can also cause irritation or soreness in the mouth and gums.
Some players may find it difficult to adjust to wearing a mouthguard, especially if they have not worn one before. This can make it tempting to skip wearing a mouthguard altogether.
Impact on Performance
Wearing a mouthguard can also have an impact on a player’s performance. It can make it more difficult to communicate with teammates on the ice, which can be especially challenging for goalies. It can also make it more difficult to breathe, which can be a concern during intense physical activity.
Some players may feel that wearing a mouthguard restricts their movement or limits their ability to play at their best. This can make it difficult to convince players to wear a mouthguard.
Risk of Injury
The most significant consequence of not wearing a mouthguard in hockey is the risk of injury. Hockey is a high-contact sport, and players are at risk of getting hit in the face with a stick, puck, or another player’s body.
Without a mouthguard, players are at risk of losing teeth, breaking their jaw, or suffering other serious injuries to the mouth and face. These injuries can be painful, expensive to treat, and may require players to take time off from playing.
League and Team Policies
Some leagues and teams require players to wear mouthguards during games and practices. However, this is not always the case. Some leagues may leave it up to individual players to decide whether to wear a mouthguard or not.
Teams can also play a role in encouraging players to wear mouthguards. Coaches and team leaders can emphasize the importance of wearing a mouthguard and provide resources for players to obtain them. They can also lead by example and wear mouthguards themselves.
While there are several reasons why hockey players may not wear mouthguards, the potential consequences of not wearing one are severe. Players are at risk of serious injuries to the mouth and face, which can be painful and expensive to treat. Encouraging players to wear mouthguards and providing resources for obtaining them can help reduce the risk of injury and keep players safe on the ice.
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