logo (4)Just the other day a friend and I were discussing which sports are most dangerous, with most all of them leaving lifelong injuries as reminders of glory from ‘back in the day,’ it would (all too often) seem.

From football to soccer, there is always the chance for significant injury, as well as recurring joint pain. And for fighters and hockey players (are they sort of one and the same?), getting punched hard in the mouth seems to be a way of life; in fact, it’s somewhat fascinating to me that for many fans, a man can remain attractive, or become even more so, while missing both his front teeth–as long as they were knocked out in a manly sport. (I wonder if this odd level of sex appeal would transfer to women athletes were they to experience the same loss?)

This whole conversation, however, could become a thing of the past with the introduction of better mouthguards. We all understand that pro athletes are tough as nails—they don’t have to lose their teeth to prove it though. Apparently, we aren’t the only ones who are concerned, as the UFC has been looking for a way to provide their fighters with better mouth pieces. And while losing teeth is really a dreadful thing, those mouthguards also help to keep the jaw stable during fights, work to eliminate knockouts and concussions—and perhaps even improve performance.

UntitledNow, it turns out that behind the scenes, UFC and GuardLab have been hard at work, creating custom mouthguards for fighters. They have just announced a global licensing agreement, and not only that—fans will actually be able to purchase their own UFC branded mouthguards as well.

Touting their new products as a ‘Mouthguard Revolution,’ GuardLab creates all the guards from 3D scans which are then built individually on high-resolution 3D printers. Each guard is also fitted with a proprietary alignment repositioning cushion.

“With the ever-changing landscape in professional sports, we’re always looking for the next cutting-edge technology and innovation to aid athletes that compete in the UFC,” UFC Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Products Tracey Bleczinski said. “We are excited to partner with GuardLab as they continue to develop products that help improve the overall performance and wellness of professional athletes.”

Headquartered in New York, GuardLab created their design with the help of two world-class dentists. The ‘bite’ is optimized and 3D scanned and then an affordable bespoke neuromuscular mouthguard is 3D printed. These mouthguards offer both upper and lower protection and are meant for any athlete. As an added bonus, they are also good for those who grind their teeth while sleeping.

“UFC is an exciting world-class organization, and we are thrilled about our partnership to equip and offer their athletes with what we believe to be a transformative piece of sports technology,” GuardLab CEO Aidan Butler said. “We are committed to creating an engaging brand experience and delivering a superior product for athletes everywhere.”

UntitledWhile it would seem that most athletes would want to wear the protective devices and understand their benefits, there are still many who for one reason or another go without. The UFC states that now both they and GuardLab are working to educate athletes further on why a mouthguard is so very important. To encourage use, complimentary mouthguards will be offered to every UFC athlete attending summits and events. Wearing them during training and fights is optional, however. For paying customers, however, prices start at around $249 for adults or $149 for the under 18 crowd, and you can even order an antibacterial spray to keep them smelling good! See here for more information on how to be fitted for your own if you are interested.

Are you a UFC fan interested in purchasing your own mouthguard? Discuss in the 3D Printed Mouthguards forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: Digital Journal]

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