To determine if youth hockey players wear their mouthguards properly, and if not, why?
Descriptive cross-sectional study.
Tecumseh Shoreline Minor Hockey Association, Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada, during the 2007-2008 season.
Subjects were 180 travel hockey players of the Tecumseh Shoreline Minor Hockey Association at the Atom or Pee Wee level (aged 9-12 y) or their competitors.
Players were asked to complete a survey addressing mouthguard wear under their coach's supervision.
The type of mouthguard, whether mouthguards were worn at all and worn properly, and the reasons for noncompliance. The incidence of concussion and association to mouthguard-wearing tendencies were also assessed.
Sixty-eight percent [95% confidence interval (CI), 60.4%-74.5%] of subjects always wore their mouthguards, but only 31.7% (95% CI, 25.0%-39.0%) wore them properly during games and 51.1% (95% CI, 43.6%-58.6%) during practice. Custom-made mouthguards were most likely to be worn properly, followed by boil-and-bite and stock-type guards. Younger players wore mouthguards more consistently than older players (P < 0.01). Reasons for not wearing the guard included the following: 43.0% (95% CI, 35.4%-50.4%) of subjects felt it made talking difficult, 27.4% (95% CI, 20.9%-34.3%) felt it uncomfortable, 23.9% (95% CI, 17.9%-30.8%) felt it made breathing difficult, and 12.4% (95% CI, 8.3%-17.9%) thought it did not fit correctly. The incidence of concussion was 17.8%, but the study was underpowered for any association with mouthguard type.
Even when mouthguards are mandated to be worn in a children's travel hockey league, young players self-report that they routinely fail to wear them properly.
From the *Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan; †Tecumseh Shoreline Minor Hockey Association, Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada; and ‡Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan.
Submitted for publication March 25, 2010; accepted April 12, 2011.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
Corresponding Author: Rahul Vaidya, MD, CM, FRCSC, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Detroit Medical Center, 4D4 UHC Detroit Receiving Hospital, 4201 St. Antoine Blvd, Detroit, MI 48201 (email@example.com).