OBJECTIVE: To understand factors that influence parental perceptions regarding mandatory mouthguard use in competitive youth soccer.
SETTING AND SUBJECTS: A web based survey of parents whose 8-14 year old children participated in outdoor competitive youth soccer during the fall of 2002. Questions focused on: previous injury, education provided, dentist/physician recommendations, and parental perceptions of mouthguard use.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The outcome variable was parental agreement with the statement "mouthguards should be mandatory for competitive youth soccer". Logistic regression and chi(2) were performed using STATA 8.0.
RESULTS: Altogether 120 parents participated. The children had a mean (SD) age of 11.8 (1.5) years and 48% were female; 14% wore mouthguards and 11% suffered orofacial injuries. Nineteen percent of parents reported receiving educational material from the youth soccer organization. Although 92% of parents believed that mouthguards were effective in reducing orofacial injuries, only one half agreed that mouthguards should be mandatory. Thirty percent of respondents reported that their dentist/physician recommended mouthguards for competitive youth soccer. Logistic regression showed that dentist/physician recommendation and parental female gender were independently associated with parental agreement for mandatory mouthguard use (odds ratio 2.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2 to 7.3; odds ratio 3.0, 95% CI 1.1 to 6.5).
CONCLUSIONS: Few athletes wear mouthguards during competitive youth soccer. Health care professionals in this study did not capitalize on the apparent influence they have on parental beliefs regarding mouthguard use. Efforts are needed by both health professionals and soccer organizations to educate parents about orofacial injuries and mouthguard use in competitive youth soccer.
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