Q: Can athletic mouth guards really protect against brain injury?
There is quite a bit of disagreement on whether athletic mouth guards protect against brain injury. Many experts argue that the evidence simply isn't there to recommend wearing a mouth guard as protection from brain injury like concussion.
The Ongoing Debate on Mouth Guards as Protection from Brain Injuries
Last year an international team of researchers released an update to the global Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport. They state there isn't enough evidence linking mouth guards to the prevention of concussions. They do note that it may reduce head and face injuries.
A neurosurgeon in Canada, Dr. Michael Cusimano, found mouth guards have little or no impact on reducing concussions. The results were published in the journal Neurosurgery in 2010.
Yet manufacturers of mouth guards and other experts claim they do reduce the risk of a severe head injury, such as brain damage. But based on the research findings, it may be best not to count on a mouth guard to protect against a serious brain injury. Of course, they can help protect the face and mouth from injury. So it's not that they don't provide some benefit.
Techniques That May Help Prevent Concussions in Sports
Nothing can guarantee a child or other participant in an athletic event will not suffer a concussion, especially in a contact sport. But there are ways to at least reduce the risk. Using proper techniques in the sport is one example. For instance, football coaches should teach children the correct way to block and tackle, which means not lowering their head.
Children should wear good quality helmets that fit right. It's also important they wear it the correct way and always buckle the chinstrap. Coaches should also make sure that any child suspected of having a concussion is held out from play until cleared to return by a doctor.
When a party does not take appropriate measures to protect children in sports, it could cause serious injury. It's possible that negligence may apply in such cases, which could allow the parents of an injured child to file a claim. The liable party will greatly depend on the circumstances. For example, a sports league that fails to implement safety protocols may be liable.
To learn more about your specific legal rights, contact an attorney at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz. Call us at 404-474-0804 to set up a consultation.