Dr. Edward Williams, D.D.S. presented a study to the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) in 1993 which alarmed them a great deal. The good doctor found that 95% of the football players he examined had fractures of the bones in the vicinity of the jaw-joint. That's ninety-five percent! If you play or watch lacrosse, you know that we give and take hits which rival those delivered on the football field. A jaw-joint injury can occur from "heading" a soccer ball, so we know that lacrosse players are at risk. Remember, you don't have to get hit in the jaw to injure the jaw-joint. Any blow to the head or helmet can be harmful if the joint is left unprotected.
Jaw-joint injuries are often overlooked by physicians or misdiagnosed Continued injury to the region can be disastrous and lead to brain damage. Doctor Williams had some good news to deliver to NOCSAE that day too, though. While the results of the study were earth shattering, especially to those who care most about and oversee the state of our nation's protective gear, he suspected that he had developed a mouthpiece that would not only protect against these injuries, but allow those athletes with previous jaw-joint injuries to play their sport once again without fear of permanent damage. The folks at NOSCAE took the mouthpiece and designed a specific apparatus designed to test the damage to the jaw joint upon various sports related impacts. The results confirmed William's claim. The WIPSS (Williams Intra-Oral Protective Sports System) Jaw-joint protector allowed about half the load force than the standard boil and bite mouthpieces. In fact, at an impact level that caused actual headform damage to the standard sample, the WIPSS held up.
The WIPSS lists among its supporters the head coach of the US Olympic Boxing Team, and many football and Hockey organizations. The realization that these injuries over time can effect an attenuates career longevity and success as well as general health has brought about a revolution in the way people think about buying the right mouthpiece and using it correctly. A look at the symptoms of Jaw-joint injury will convert you:
Whoah! My hair hurts and I keep falling down? That would really suck. The jaw-joint protector is your best defense against this very common syndrome which you may already have. Some of the lesser symptoms are present on every lacrosse sideline. The WIPSS also increases your general strength and performance in a number of ways while it protects. Firstly, the "open" position (shown above) that your jaw rests in, while wearing the WIPSS, negates the ill-effect that teeth clenching causes while going to the goal or making a big save. Studies show that most athletes clench their teeth at pivotal moments of action and game stress. This cuts off the strength reflex mechanism and many vital nerves when the lower jaw rests on the joint. The increase in lower and upper body strength can be as high as 35%.
- Sensitivity to light
- Pulsating pain behind the eyes
- Bloodshot eyes
- Discomfort when chewing
- Pain when opening mouth
- Limited opening of mouth
- Jaw jumps or deviates to one side when opened
- Jaw locks in open position when eating, yelling or yawning
- Teeth don't seem to fit together in normal "bite"
- Unconscious grinding of teeth, especially during times of anxiety or when asleep
- Tender, sore or loose teeth
- Radiating headache pain from forehead to eyebrow area
- Pain and pressures similar to sinus problems
- Ache in the temple area, above and in front of the ear
- Hair or scalp painful to touch
- Radiating pain in back of head
- "Migraine" type headaches
- Decrease in hearing capacity
- Earache but no infection
- Constantly clogged or itching ear with no infection or foreign body
- Dizziness or vertigo; ringing, hissing or buzzing sound
- Sore throat but no infection
- Sore, tired and stiff neck muscles
- Pain and numbness in arms and fingers
- Frequent shoulder and neck pain
- Impaired speech
- Impaired sense of balance
Secondly, the BIG BREATHING HOLE in the WIPSS is just about the greatest "quality of sporting life" improvement since the day somebody put a net between the goal posts. You can do things that those who never wear mouthpieces take for granted, like breathe, spit and talk. No more "HEEYOOOHELF!" when we mean "Here's Your Help!". The truth is that the breathing regularity that the WIPSS affords you is worth the price alone. And let's face it, even those of us who don't spit a lot, for some reason, have to spit once we get the mouthpiece in place and the action is heading our way. The WIPSS is easily the cheapest way to upgrade your game this year and should be considered a priority in your responsible approach to playing a rough game for a long time.
The WIPSS comes with easy to follow instructions. The routine is basically that of the old boil and bite without the risk of biting through the rubber. A unique "dip stick" is provided for use when boiling. It fits right in the air hole and keeps the air hole from shutting while the rubber is so hot. The mouthpiece is easily cut with a sharp kitchen knife on a cutting board but was not possible with a normal pair of scissors. Kids, get help from your parents! The instructions show the point at which you should not cut the mouthpiece off to achieve protective results. A little case is provided to store the mouthpiece and of course protect it from the germs in your locker or gear bag. Remember, this was invented by a dentist.
Defensemen! You know how hard you're going to hit your opponents this spring. You're going to shell out up to 250 bucks on that new super-light shaft so you can improve your performance and hit them even harder. Spend the 30 dollars on the Jaw-joint protector and recommend the same to your victims. It will increase their breathing, communicating, mental response and protect them from injuries that last far beyond our hitting days.