By Charles Kruzits
PhillylacrosseNews.com, Posted 3/2/12
Philadelphia Wings standout and former All-World lacrosse player Brendan Mundorf has made one thing clear: he wants to play the sport at a high level for a long time.
While knowing the risks that come with playing the game, he is aiming to lessen the possibility of concussions.
Mundorf, also a key member of the MLL Denver Outlaws, recently made a huge commitment to safety landing a deal to sponsor the TapouT mouthguard, by Battle Sports Science.
“I’m just very thankful,” Mundorf said of his newest endorsement. “From the people I talked to within the organization, it was obvious that they are leading the way in safety in sports and in prevention of concussions.”
The TapouT mouthguard (http://tapoutmouthguard.com/) is designed to be re-boiled and re-molded multiple times without losing protective integrity. It is used by many pro athletes, including mixed martial arts fighters and NHL stud Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.
According to Battle Sports, the mouthguard allows athletes to boil and mold, then re-boil and re-mold until they achieve the perfect fit, multiple times. The correct fit allows the jaw to lock into a relaxed position, enabling the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) to fill with natural fluids to compound the shock absorption qualities of the mouthguard. Athletes with braces can re-mold the guard after orthodontic adjustments.
“Growing up, mouthpieces were so uncomfortable,” said 27-year old Mundorf, a two-time All-American at UMBC while leading the Retrievers to the 2006 NCAA tournament. “It’s nice to have one that’s comfortable but also effective because it’s really important to take that precautionary step. A lot of times you can see someone chewing on the outside of the mouthpiece or just not even wearing one.”
The issue of safety and head injuries was heightened when Merrick Thomson’s career was cut short at the young age of 25 because of post-concussion symptoms.
“It’s really unfortunate for Merrick,” said Mundorf, a graduate of Mount St. Joseph in Maryland. “He was at the top of his game and getting better significantly every year. Situations like that make you take a step back and think.”
Thomson’s story is not the first nor will be the last as day-after-day a current or former athlete speaks out about injuries sustained on the playing surface. Jim McMahon, former Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Chicago Bears, suffers from memory loss that he attributes from the bumps and bruises that came with playing football. On the ice, NHL fans are wondering when and if Sidney Crosby will ever return to the NHL after receiving multiple concussions early last season.
Here is where star power comes in. Mundorf is hoping that younger players see the importance of safety.
“The reality is when you’re younger, taking that precautionary step isn’t cool,” Circo said. “It is (cool) when kids see a professional doing it. They’ll think, ‘it’s ok for me to do it too.’ The reason is because they want to copy their favorite athlete.”
Chris Circo, the C.E.O. of Battle Sports Science, has set out to inform the public on the importance of safety on the playing field. Battle Sports puts out many pieces of gear that focus on safety.
With the speed of the game increasing, and the players getting stronger, taking that “extra step” could be career- or even life-saving. Though Mundorf tries not to worry about his safety while playing the game, he didn’t hesitate when the opportunity arose to be endorsed by Battle Sports Science.
“I knew this was a good opportunity because you should never take your health lightly,” Mundorf said. “(Battle Sports Science) gets how important it is to provide the safest products to all athletes.”
Circo said parents often are not educated enough on the issues of safety for their children playing sports.
“If you lose a tooth, it can be replaced,” he said. “But, if you lose functionality in your brain, it can affect a lot of people, including your family and friends.”