News

Attention parents: New GAA gumshield rule

November 7, 2018

There will be no grace period for the implementation of mandatory mouthguards in football at all underage levels, which came into force from yesterday.

Ger Ryan, chairman of the medical, scientific and welfare committee, confirmed there will be no exceptions made as players are expected to wear them in training and games as action recommences in the coming weeks. 

The GAA has encouraged clubs to buy stock mouthguards in bulk to ensure no player goes without one on the day of the game. 

'There are no plans to have a grace period at all,' said Ryan. 'All you’re doing then is changing the implementation date

'Clubs, schools and county boards have all been advised and there has been a promotional drive through a national launch and a poster campaign. The fact the gumshields are available for sale in SuperValus and Centras has heightened awareness. 

'Over the next four to six weeks, minor inter-county panels will start coming together and there’ll be that emphasis to wear them. 

'The key thing is a six-year-old will now have a gumshield as part of their kit and it will be for the rest of their playing days.' 

Ryan appreciates some match officials will find it tough to ensure all players respect the rule. 

'It will be challenging for referees and umpires to inspect gumshields but that is something we will get feedback on... just how easy or how difficult is this to police.' 

Three types of mouthguards are available to players and Ryan believes underage footballers nowadays are more responsible about the possibility of facial injuries. 

'I think there’ll be a bit of trial and error as it’s an affordability issue,' said the Tipperary PRO. 'You’ll see clubs buying bundles of them for a fiver each so that it mightn’t matter so much if they don’t get them back. 

'You’ll have boil and bite ones being bought, which cost between €15 and €20, and then the more sophisticated, professional dental ones which are priced between €60 and €80. 

'In Tipperary and other counties, dental practices are seeing this as an opportunity. If you get 10, 20 or 30 players getting them there should be discounts. It’s an investment. If you get your own customised one, you’ll be keeping it. We would make the same equation with hurling and helmets. You don’t see hurlers getting new helmets every six or seven months. It just becomes part of your kit. 

'There has been a lot of queries but not too much negativity. This can reduced up to 80% of facial injuries 

'If you look at it over the years, mouth injuries are the most costly type of injuries,' continued Ryan. 'The mandatory mouthguard will reduced the demand on the injury scheme but the attitude of players to this subject is different to what it once was. 

'There’s more interest in younger people about cosmetics. It might have been a badge of honour to have your mouth knocked in years ago nobody wants that now. Nobody wants teeth missing. 

'We often think about mouthguards preventing teeth injuries but they help to prevent a lot of other problems in and around the mouth area.'

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