A Solution for Playing with a Tooth Injury

March 23, 2019

By Maria Hutsick, MS, LATC, CSCS

An athlete on an NCAA Division I women's lacrose team sustained an injury to her teeth during a game, and I was working at the school during that time. The player was struck in the mouth with the butt end of a stick and sustained a posterior subluxation to her two front upper teeth (the central incisors). The teeth were reduced on the field by the father of a player on our team who was a dentist. The athlete was then transported to her family dentist's office who did a complete exam and decided to wire the teeth together for a period of 3-6 weeks or until they became stable. The athlete was then to follow up with the dentist after the season for a final check.

Her dentist did not want the athlete to wear a mouth guard due to the instability of her teeth. He suggested some type of external protection. Lacrosse rules state that a mouth guard must be worn by all athletes during a game. Therefore, we had to come up with something that was safe and that the game officials and dentist would allow.

There's a face guard worn by downhill ski racers to prevent facial injuries, which is usually attached to their helmets. However, helmets are illegal in women’s lacrosse except for the goalkeeper. So we had to determine a way for the external face guard to be secured to the athlete.

Here's how we did this:

• We purchased the face guard at a cost of $29.99 at Ski Market in Boston, Massachusetts. It is called a Giro Chin Guard and can be found at: www.reliableracing.com.

• The face guard was attached to the athlete's face by using pre-wrap

• We then placed her eye goggles (which are mandatory in the sport of women's lacrosse) over the equipment.

• In addition, as a precautionary measure and to prevent any issues at games involving the athlete, we had a letter that the athletic trainer presented to the opposing team's athletic trainer, coach and officials prior to the game.

This system worked extremely well and it's worth noting if you run into a similar situation with your athletes. 


Maria Hutsick, MS, LAT, ATC, CSCS, is Head Athletic Trainer at Medfield (Mass.) High School and former Director of Sports Medicine at Boston University. She is a past president of the College Athletic Trainers' Society and was honored with an NATA Athletic Trainer Service Award in 2010. She can be reached at: [email protected].

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