Showing posts with label mouthguards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mouthguards. Show all posts

October 29, 2014

Concussions and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

A few weeks back Jared Weiner, head instructor at BJJ United in Philly, put up a very important statement regarding concussions and brain injuries in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Overall a topic few address seriously as many believe head injuries are rare in an art that contains no striking.  Sadly this could not be further from the truth especially when grappling with someone with four sharp pointy things called elbows and knees, a head, and lets not forget throws and takedowns!  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people pass over spending time and money on one of the most important pieces of protective equipment in grappling arts... a mouth

guard, that will help prevent against concussions. 

The potential of brain damage is great and it is nice to see the topic addressed.  Words of wisdom for all of us below...

  “I was always the first person to tell someone to suck it up and fight through the pain, no matter what the circumstance was. If we were training for a tournament winning was the only thing that mattered. I can honestly look back and say that was a bad mentality and we are very lucky more serious injuries didn’t transpire over the years.
   The back story: On July 19, I was in the finals of the IBJJF NY Summer Open. My opponent executed a beautiful single leg, he lifted me up and my head bounced off the mat. I saw the “camera flash” but kept fighting (This had no outcome on the match, my opponent won with great positions, and I don’t want to take away from his victory). Immediately after the match I became very nauseous and dizzy. I found myself dry heaving in the bathroom, and I wasn’t sure how I ended up there. That night I continued to throw up and feel “off” but I thought I was coming down with the flu and left it at that. That was HUGE mistake number 1.
    Fast forward to exactly one week later: I was still feeling a little “off” but training hard anyways. All I knew was I had the Chicago Open coming up and I had to win coming off that loss in NY. During that training session I was accidentally kneed in the jaw by one of my students and knocked out cold. I have very little recollection of the actual hit, but I do recall coming to and asking what happened. I was  not really sure what was going on but I decided to keep training anyways because if I missed a day of practice (in  my mind) I would be soft and It might effect the outcome in Chicago. HUGE mistake number 2.
   Fast forward to August 3: I finally decided to go to the hospital to see what was going on with me, because since the day I was knocked out, I felt light headed 24/7.  I was experiencing horrible headaches and scalp pain. I had crazy pressure in my left eye, and I was not able to sleep. Any type of light was hurting my eyes, and worst of all I became sad, emotionless, and suffered memory loss. I was scared as I never felt like this before, and I didn’t know what was going on with me.
   I remember the doctor being really cool and trying to talk MMA and BJJ with me.  She then advised me that I suffered two back-to-back concussions within a week and that is rare and extremely dangerous. She told me it could have been fatal to get two right on top of each other. She said it will take time but I should feel normal again eventually. EVENTUALLY.
   So here I am almost three months later still stuck in this “fog”. My headaches are not as severe, but I am still walking around light-headed and really “off”. I have not been able to train live, only teach, but even that is very difficult for me these days. A lot of things have been put in perspective for me over the last three months. The last thing on my mind is medals and tournaments, but being well for my daughter and family is my priority. This has been a nightmare for me, and people who have never experienced a head injury before never really seem to understand, and its very frustrating for me. I may seem normal, and look normal, but I feel far from normal.
   I’m hoping to bring some awareness to head injuries in our sport and they are to be taken very seriously. Take some time and educate yourself on the topic and if you are ever feeling “off” from a head shot get checked out.”

June 11, 2012

Gear Review: Damage Control Mouthguards

In terms of safety equipment I cannot think of a more important, yet most overlooked / under appreciated, piece of gear than a mouthguard!?  And before patting yourself on the back for using one lets get one thing straight, if it ain't custom fitted you may as well slap a piece of gum in between those chompers as it will do you about as much good as gum!  Enter Damage Control Mouthguards and their custom fit three layer design specifically made for combat sports participants.

Whether you are a top tier competitor, or just average Joe hitting the dojo once or twice a week, it is essential that you have a custom fit mouth guard for any combat sport including BJJ / grappling.  Accidents happen (I just popped my good friend Eric in the jaw Thursday night on accident.  His comment.... "Maybe I should invest in a mouth guard.") and regardless of our intentions with our training partners accidents can do a lot of damage.  Believe me when I tell you that dental surgery is NOT cheap, nor fun:

"Sports dentistry is essentially the prevention and treatment of oral and facial injuries. Dental injuries are the most common type of facial injuries for athletes and the majority of these injuries are actually preventable.
   Young athletes who have a tooth knocked out can anticipate upwards of $20,000 worth of lifetime dental costs associated with just that one tooth. In addition to these expenses, the person can suffer through lost work. The bottom line is that a tooth that is knocked out of the mouth and not reinserted in the first few minutes has virtually no chance of successfully being saved and the cumulative affect of multiple concussions can lead to lifelong medical problems. These two very scary topics make it imperative that athletes and their parents understand the importance of properly-fitted and fabricated athletic mouthguards to prevent injuries.  emotional and psychological scars and pain."

Delano Romero and his wife Dr. Vesna Delic DDS. operate a small dentistry business in my old dwelling Albuquerque, NM.  And it was via Delano's BJJ training that sparked the idea of making quality grade, yet stylish mouthguards for combat sports athletes.  

First and foremost the customer service is second to none.  Delano was right back to me with questions and getting my impression out in a timely manner.  Shipped priority via USPS the impression kit arrived in just a couple of days, and with the pre-paid return envelope Delano received it within a few day as well.  All in all between ordering the guard, making the impression, returning it, and then receiving the final product was no more then 10-12 days weeks!  Amazing turn around time.   

As far as designs go Delano can do anything as you can see here in the portfolio, and he was again super quick about emailing me a demo of what my guard would look like (which was good as I originally had too dark of a color).  I chose the BJJ line of mouthguard which includes your gym logo, rank, and name (I hate when I mix up mouthguards with my 
rolling homies!).  But their is no color, nor design they can't do which makes the customization process all the more fun.  

Functionality has been second to none with Damage Control.  I have had a custom fit guard that has served me very well for the past five years or so, but in those few years the technology and design of guards has improved.  With the new Damage Control three tier layering protection is not compromised yet their is less mouthguard making breathing easier and virtually eliminating any kind of gag sensitivities one may have.  In the month I have been wearing it I have witnessed no visible wear and tear and the fit has been perfect from day one.  

Amazing customer service, a very reasonable price starting at $119+ (keep in mind most dentist's will charge you $400-500 for a custom fit mouthguard!), and a solid product makes for a 10/10 in my book for Damage Control.  The impression kit comes with easy to follow instructions and extra putty just in case you [email protected]#k up the first go around, so really this whole kit is fool proof.  

For more info, or to order your own custom fit guard contact Delano at [email protected]
505-804-8941 and tell him Jake sent you from The Ground Never Misses!


May 25, 2010

Smartguards - Best Mouth Guard on the Market

I sparred and grappled for many a year with little to no mouth guard or any type of protection for my teeth and mouth. Put quite simply, it was stupid! God knows how much stress and damage I did to the enamel and structure of my teeth over the years.

My evolution slowly creeped to the classical "boil & bite" style mouth guards. Lured by asinine claims like "$20,000 Dental Insurance," I thought these guards would be just fine. But as I started to use the B&B guards more I noticed afterwards my teeth and jaw would feel out of whack and sometimes sore. I got tired of feeling like this, not to mention the B&B guards are really hard to breathe with when they are in your mouth which is not good in any type of sparring.

I did a bit of research online for whom was making affordable (key word) solidly built custom mouth guards that are pressure laminated. Dentists have recommended pressure laminated made guards over vacuum made because the pressure laminated allow multiple layers and I have noticed that they allow more "play" in the way they are worn, without sacrificing protection. Smartguards Canada is one of the best I have found!

I wanted to make sure I was not getting ripped off, so I asked my family dentist about this whole process and he agreed with everything I had found regarding the pressure laminate, and explained that for the same thing it would cost $400-500 to get one done with him! He encouraged me to use Smartguards.

If you are looking for a good quality custom mouth guard (and when I say IF you are looking, I mean if you don't already have one you need one so go order one now!) then you will be more than happy with Smartguards. If you already have a mold of your mouth you can save about $10, but otherwise they send you all the things you need to take an impression of your upper row of teeth, you send it back and within a few weeks your custom made mouth guard arrives. Not only is it a snug fit almost feeling like it is vacuum locked onto your teeth, but it also comes with your name laminated in the guard, and you can choose any color, design or logo you want. Yours truly of course got a Blackhawks logo and colors on mine. I tried to take a pic, but they came out shitty.

The Smartguard is easy to breathe through, where actually I barely notice it in my mouth. Communication is only slightly hindered. Very comfortable and easy to keep clean. Now I have not been all out socked, but I have caught several elbows and knee's in the mouth grappling and the guard has done an amazing job thus far. I have also noticed just how much I actually clench my jaw when sparring and grappling! Something I had not noticed before. Again this guard is amazing in helping with that issue.

All in all Smartguards cost about $125 US and are worth twice that! I have seen lots of new companies who have come out since I ordered this guard, but many of them are $500- 5000!! For your average athlete in any sport these guards will work wonders. Think about a knocked out tooth will cost on average at least several thousand dollars depending on the damage! Even for me that is simple math.

Train Hard. Train Smart.