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Croker chiefs' new gumshield plan a real mouthful

GAA players will be forced to wear mouthguards during matches by 2012, it has emerged

The introduction of the gumshields rules would prevent expensive dental bills for our footballers and hurlers
The introduction of the gumshields rules would prevent expensive dental bills for our footballers and hurlers
Image: PA

GAA PLAYERS MAY well be forced to wear gumshields on the field by 2012, if Croke Park plans are implemented according to the Irish Examiner this morning.

Central Council officials have discussed the move – which is sure to provoke a backlash from conservative players – and may introduce new laws “on a phased basis from 2012 onwards”.

The move is part of an ongoing effort to curb mounting insurance payout costs. Endodontist, Dr Pat Cleary, welcomes the plan – but admits it will pose some problems for players initially. He told Colm O’Connor:

The cost to replace one missing front tooth is in the region of €2,500 and that would have to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. The cost of a mouthguard is relatively inexpensive when compared to that.

I know that some players find wearing a mouthguard difficult and have issues with breathing and salivating. Our advice would be to avoid the boil and bite versions of these gumshields and instead go to a dentist and get a properly fitted mouthguard custom made.

Dr Cleary said that the introducion of helmets with face cages recently had seen a dramatic drop in dental injuries in hurling but there were still a significant number of footballers requiring treatment every year.

Speaking to The Score this morning, Co Clare hurley maker Flan Marsh – who has developed a revolutionary technology which prevents hurleys breaking dangerously in clashes – welcomed the move towards safer Gaelic games.

This step is just another in the move towards making our sports safer for our kids. Our new technology prevents hurleys flying into the air and spiking players dangerously, which often happens.

The introduction of helmets and gum-shields are steps in the right direction. We hope now that the association implements even more measures.

Marsh presented one of his hurleys to GAA president Christy Cooney and hopes to begin talks with Croke Park chiefs.

Major League Baseball – who pay out millions annually to fans hit with broken bats – are in talks with the Broadford native and have dispatched a case of bats to be amended and then tested in Clare.

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