These days, athletes will do just about anything to gain a competitive advantage. From steroids to steak to gender alterations, the need to keep up with the speed and power of modern day sport can compel players to do just about anything as their bodies begin to age. Football, while largely unaffected by the doping, is by no means estranged from such tactics, although it always seemed that fashionable tights were the most preferred method of choice, until now.
Leave it to the Germans for efficiency. Schalke’s Manuel Neuer paid a visit to Dr. Steffen Tschakert last week to get a fitting for his €1,595 bite guard. (All that money does not cover the emotional stress of being wired into a medieval torture rack better fitted for Frankenstein.) According to Dr. Tschakert, who also served as the chief doctor for the German Olympic team, “wearing the guard provides an ideal bite position for the jaw, which in turn produces efficient working body muscles, better balance, higher power capacity, optimal co-ordination, and less injury.”
Dortmund oral surgeon Dr. Manfred Nilius supports his colleague’s efforts by adding that affixing the temporomandibular joint to a neutral position can relieve the body of unnecessary stresses. It also allows the individual to breathe in more oxygen without completely opening your mouth.
Sounds good to me. Although I don’t quite understand why the man who has let in the third fewest goals in the Bundesliga and widely regarded as the most wanted goalkeeper in the world at the moment would require performance enhancing braces. Neuer is already top of his game yet those efforts have seen Schalke rise no higher than tenth in the league.
Maybe the outfield players are the ones who need to think about their jaw alignment a bit more. I know I’ll be wearing my retainer more often from now on.
Photo courtesy of Bild.de