Sports Insight

January / February 2019

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8 • Sports Insight January/February 2019 MOUTHGUARDS Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is N ow equal parts protective equip- ment and fashion statement, mouthguards are a staple of team sports ranging from foot- ball, wrestling and hockey – where they are mandatory in most competitions – to soccer and basketball, where both the performance and safety aspects are catching on. Retailers are noticing the trend and are devoting more and more shelf space to the increasingly diverse and targeted selec- tion from a host of major manufacturers. There are, essentially, four reasons why this commitment to what is essentially a piece of protective equipment makes sense for sporting goods stores. 1. The Safety Factor Mouthguards are, first and foremost, a safety item — and that should make them an easy sell. Mouthguards are, in many cases, part of the required equipment. If retailers sell any protective equipment, they should also sell mouthguards. "The reasons are reflected in safety and necessity, but also on the premise that pro- viding better products that allow a player to speak and breathe easily and play with confidence, can be profitable," explains Jay Turkbas. SVP-product development for United Sports Brands/Shock Doctor. "[Retailers] should point to the fact that there are one million dental injuries in sports every year," adds Sassa Akervall, CEO of Sisu Mouthguards. "Protecting your teeth is every bit as important as protecting your shins or head." 2. The Cost of Losing a Tooth Losing a tooth is an expensive long-term proposition. Short-term oral abrasions or cuts are painful. Any oral injury keeps you out of the game "It can't be stressed enough the pain, not to mention the cost involved, in fixing a broken tooth," says Akervall. "Mouthguards are becoming an essen- tial part of sports and while they are not required, they have many benefits," agrees Jessica Gore, founder and president of Tasty Clean, which markets a cleaning solution for mouthguards. "Hundreds of thousands of mouth injuries are prevented each year due to mouthguards, but, according to the ADA, only about 26 percent of children wear them." 3. A Fashion Statement? In recent seasons, thanks to designs from the major manufacturers this unassuming piece of equipment has become a bit of a fashion and style statement. "The latest sales pitch trends are all about graphics and representing your personal style," says Shock Doctor's Turkbas. In football, espe- cially, lip guards now provide a platform to showcase graphics, messages and forms that allow players to express themselves." "Focusing on the rising trend of athlete B Y M I C H A E L J A C O B S E N Four Reasons Selling Mouthguards Makes Sense for Retailers. Sisu Mouthguards

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