I think so many kids just view mouthguards as extra because they’re tough to grow accustomed to at first. And that makes sense for just about anything in life out there. No matter how good something is for you, you’ll likely be pretty resistant to it at first if it means you have to learn how to use it or if you’re just simply not used to the feeling at first.
But those very kids who refuse to wear mouthguards or the parents who don’t enforce their use become horrified at the damage done when it’s too late: broken teeth from errant baseballs, fractured jaws from falls, and even losing more teeth than you have left from other contact sports and freak injuries.
One of the first times I remember how important a mouthguard would’ve been was way back in 7th grade. One of the girls in my class was a flyer for our cheerleading team and we had a home basketball game one night. Well, she was on the shoulders of another girl and somehow their coordination was off and she fell forward, smacking her face square on the basketball court.
I recall her being rushed to the ER directly after and there being a pool of blood on the court. Later we came to find out she had broken some of her teeth, lost others, and done significant damage to her jaw. She went on to recover later, but I remember her teeth being pretty messed up for a few years after.
The crazy thing to consider with this story is that she wasn’t even flying when it happened. So, the scary parts of her role, being flung ten to twenty feet high in the air, isn’t what caused the damage. Rather, it was a freak accident with her tipping over just 5 feet off the ground. The same can be said for any other sport when you think about it. Because sure, you can be hit in the mouth during baseball when a pitcher hits you in the batter’s box. But you can also be a right fielder and have a routine pop fly heading your way, and suddenly the sun is in your eyes, you blink, and the ball hits you in the teeth.