A few seasons ago, I watched a kid run off the field spitting out teeth and blood and I couldn’t help but think his injuries could be minimal if he had a mouth guard in. Why is it so many sports require mouth guards as a standard of the uniform but, for some reason, baseball is left out of this requirement? The lack of player-to-player contact and the slower pace of the sport gives a false sense of comfort, illustrating the lack of need for mouth protection. This couldn’t be farther from accurate. A thin streamlined mouth guard would be extremely beneficial for baseball and softball players for a variety of reasons.
- The batter- a wild pitch or a ball off the helmet can catch the batter right in the face or head.
- Base running- colliding with the baseman could mean a concusion and a mouth guard is an easy safe protection.
- Fielders- a ball takes a bad hop and knocks you right in the mouth.
- Catcher -yes they have a protective helmet on but they are the most susceptible player to be involved in collisions increasing their concussion risk.
As I sit and watch my son slide into home, catch a bouncing ball at short stop or get hit by a wild pitch I can’t help to wonder why baseball doesn’t make this a requirement, like many other sports. Would I be able to get at 13 year old to be compliant with my wishes if his team thinks it’s ‘not cool’? Would the league see the benifits and make it a rule? Will baseball catch on once more teeth are broken or lost? I’m hoping some day soon our players will all be sporting the mouth protection they need and deserve and we can reduce the dental accidents associated with baseball.
Please share your thoughts on this topic. If you have any suggestions please share.