A North Texas father has teamed with a Michigan dentist to protect athletes from concussions.
Michael Hott and Dr. Michael Hutchison are the driving forces behind the PowerPlus mouth guard. The medically patented device has been scientifically shown to reduce concussions in athletes, simply by putting their jaw in the correct position.
"It separates that joint away from the skull so that the G-force that we find in concussions doesn't get up to the brain where it causes an injury," Dr. Hutchison said. "That force cannot jump the gap and it has to go somewhere, so it just goes out into the face and neck."
Dr. Hutchison started developing the mouth guard 15 years ago. It started as a way to treat head and neck pain in patients. Those patients reported that it also increased their strength.
The doctor gave the mouth guard to his son's middle school football team and saw their strength increase too over several years.
"After a few years none of those kids had concussions so that made me take a right hand turn and study that," he said.
The mouth guard has been tested in more than 2000 subjects. The doctor said he has received 4 reports of concussions.
"Physiologic jaw position is the new technology in mouth guard protection," he said. "It's better to try to prevent concussions and it's an easy thing to wear a physiologically positioning mouth guard for $30.
Micahel Hott is the executive vice president of PowerPlus Mouthwear. He lost his daughter to a head injury in 2002 and his step-son can no longer play contact sports due to multiple concussions the boy suffered in middle school.
His partnership with Dr. Hutchison is personal.
"We'll never prevent concussions, but if we can help reduce the G-force trauma the head suffers due to a blow and cause concussions to be reduced, I'm all in. This is something they have to wear anyways, so why not something that's been shown medically, and has been demonstrated in thousands of athletes, to reduce concussions."
On Friday the entire Colleyville Heritage football team received the special mouth guard.
"We're always researching better technology that's out there. I've always had a feeling that mouth pieces were somewhat related to the idea of concussion prevention. Anytime we can find technology that enhances the game and enhances our kids ability to stay on the field and stay healthy, we want to do that," Head Coach Joe Willis said.
Last year only 30 players wore the mouth guards.
"I did see several hits where I thought, 'You know what, that's a pretty intense hit and we're going to check the kid out, but everything checked out great," he said. "We didn't have one of those kids that had it in get a concussion."
That includes quarterback Landry French, who took a vicious blindside hit last year.
"I was fine," French said. "The fact that it was on my bottom teeth, it seemed like it was not going to work at all, but it did."
Dr. Hutchinson hopes to partner with other scientist studying concussions to continue improving the technology.
The mouth guard cost about $30.