Since 01 January 2014, it has been mandatory for players in all grades to wear a mouthguard in all Gaelic football games and practice sessions.
The introduction of this rule has led to a drop of 37% in the number of dental injury claims made via the GAA Injury benefit fund, resulting from incidents in Gaelic football training sessions and matches in grades up to Minor in 2013. At adult level a similar drop of 39% occurred in 2014 proving the benefits of wearing a mouthguard in reducing the risk of dental injuries.
- All Gaelic footballers must wear a mouthguard in practice sessions and matches.
- It is the responsibility of each individual player to use a mouthguard.
- A properly fitted mouthguard is the best available protective device for reducing the incidence and severity of sports-related dental injuries.
- If a player refuses to comply with a Referee’s instruction to wear a mouthguard, he will incur the penalty as outlined in (Rule 6.2, Rules of Foul Play, The Playing Rules of Football, Official Guide, Part 2, 2012) ‘Caution the offender; order off if he persists’.
- Players can be sent-off in a game for not wearing a mouthguard.
- Players will not be covered under the GAA player injury scheme if they don’t comply with the mouthguard rule.
- The rule only applies to Gaelic football, however wearing a mouthguard whilst playing Hurling does reduce the risk of dental injury.
Ulster Schools would like to remind all coaches that for players at all levels in all Hurling Games and Hurling Practice Sessions it is mandatory for, and the responsibility of, each individual player to wear a helmet with a facial guard that meets the standards set out in IS:355 or other replacement standard as determined by the National Safety Authority of Ireland (NSAI). All players are advised that in the event of a head injury occurring, if the helmet being worn does not meet the standard or is modified or altered from the original manufactured state, they are not covered under the terms of the GAA Player Injury Fund.
The following helmet manufacturers currently provide products which meet the standards set out in IS:355 or other replacement standard as determined by the National Safety Authority of Ireland (NSAI).
- Marc Sports
- Atak Sports
Players and parents should note that not all products provided by some of these manufacturers meet the standards of IS:355.
Once the helmet or faceguard is modified in anyway, the player is playing at an increased risk of injury and not covered under the terms of the GAA Player Injury Benefit Fund. For more information http://learning.gaa.ie/mouthguardshurlinghelmets