Blog Entry

Why aren't mouthguards mandatory for NFL?

Posted on: September 20, 2011 10:13 pm
M. Vick suffered a concussion during Sunday's game vs. Atlanta (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For a quarterback who likes to scramble and whose coach calls draws specifically because of that quarterback’s athleticism has to know he’s at higher risk for taking shots from the defense.

And as we’ve seen, quarterbacks are not immune from suffering head injuries, even if they never leave the pocket. So, wouldn’t it make sense for the quarterback who does so much running to wear a mouthpiece to protect himself from the dangers of a concussion that could keep him out of the lineup for weeks to come* (and, more importantly, help keep himself healthy in the long run)?

*I mean, Dunta Robinson was playing in this game, for gosh sakes!

You’d think so, but according to, which studied the videotape from the Eagles loss to the Falcons, Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick didn’t appear to have a guard in his mouth when he was hit after a throw and suffered a concussion while banging his head into his tackle, Todd Herremans.

And Alex Marvez writes that if Vick had been wearing a mouth protector, perhaps his concussion and his lacerated tongue could have been avoided (even though Marvez also writes, “There also isn’t a definitive medical link between mouth guards and concussion prevention although some studies and anecdotal evidence have strongly suggested this is the case.”).

The mouthpieces aren’t mandatory, because the NFLPA -- and really, the players -- don’t want them. They’re uncomfortable, at least until you get used to them, and they make it hard to breathe. Plus there is a question about how difficult it would be to call out signals and audibles if you’re wearing a piece of plastic around your teeth.

But if the players are serious about their own health (and they were awfully quick during the lockout to levy charges that the owners were not serious about it), they probably need to take away the option of wearing mouthpieces.

It probably shouldn’t, but it always astounds me when players don’t seem to care much about their own safety. Whether it’s specially-designed helmets or mouthpieces that could reduce the instances of concussions, players, for the most part, seem uninterested in trying something new that could help. The NFLPA should make them care by agreeing to make mouthpieces mandatory.

And you know who was wearing a mouthpiece during that Sunday night? Backup Eagles quarterback Mike Kafka, who probably will start in place of the concussed Vick next week.

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 25, 2011 6:30 am

Why aren't mouthguards mandatory for NFL?

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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 2:24 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 23, 2011 10:53 am
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Since: Aug 18, 2011
Posted on: September 21, 2011 5:53 pm

Why aren't mouthguards mandatory for NFL?


Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: September 21, 2011 4:50 pm

Why aren't mouthguards mandatory for NFL?

Why....if they don't mind there teeth getting knocked leave it alone.  How about change kickoffs back the way they used to be instead??

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: September 21, 2011 8:13 am

Why aren't mouthguards mandatory for NFL?

Because unless youre concerned about their teeth there is no research that has been fully agreed upon that they are effective. Dont listen to me though, just check the International Conference on Concussion in Sport that was in Zurich. No need to wake up them up every hour during sleep anymore either.

Since: Jul 3, 2011
Posted on: September 21, 2011 1:19 am

Why aren't mouthguards mandatory for NFL?

It isn't like you cannot talk at all when you have a mouthguard in.

I have suffered concussions while using a mouthgurad as well as when i did not use a mouthguard.  I will agree that it is harder to speak with a mouthguard in but it is not impossible.  I stopped wearing one (for ice hockey) when the darned thing kept popping out and got very annoying (i got sick of having to find it on the ice).  I wish they could come up with some scientific proof that it helps to prevent a concussion and also hope they can figure out some other way to help prevent one.  They are not fun at all.

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: September 20, 2011 11:50 pm

Why aren't mouthguards mandatory for NFL?

I've seen plenty of NFL quarterbacks use mouthguards.  It must be possible.

Since: Mar 31, 2009
Posted on: September 20, 2011 10:59 pm

Why aren't mouthguards mandatory for NFL?

QBs do these things all the time in high school and college while wearing a mouthpiece.  It has much more to do with what is and what isn't part of the NFL culture.

Since: Sep 20, 2011
Posted on: September 20, 2011 10:40 pm

Why aren't mouthguards mandatory for NFL?

...and how does a quarterback with a mouthguard call audibles or set protections at the line of scrimmage?  How does he run a no-huddle offense?  That's why they don't use them.

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