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Putting the money where their mouth is

More than 70 Falcon High School varsity football players have custom mouth guards, courtesy of Meridian Dental.Dr. J. Brandon Johnson of Meridian Dental and his staff scheduled every Thursday during August to take impressions of each player’s teeth. Johnson said the mouth guards are valued at $85 each.Benjamin Cope said he is looking forward to the custom pieces. He has always used a generic mouthpiece and “they start to hurt your jaw after a while,” he said.Brennan Nowlin said he used a custom mouth guard for wrestling last year. “They are much more comfortable because you can talk and breathe easier,” he said.Johnson said he decided to donate the mouth guards as a way to support the community. He said he couldn’t think of a better way to help the football team than protecting their teeth.He said the mouth guards also protect the players from concussions. “The guards are about 4 mm of ethyl vinyl acetate. It keeps you from biting a solid surface when you get hit in the mouth or the jaw,” Johnson said.”It’s not as bulky, it doesn’t fall out. There is uniform thickness for all the teeth. It keeps all your teeth together. The mouth guards will last as long as their teeth stay in the same position. It could last a lifetime.”Cameron Keller, FHS offensive coordinator, said the team was happy that Dr. Johnson wanted to provide mouth guards for the team. “They are really successful at preventing injuries – the benefits are far and above the generic guards you can buy,” he said.The donation helps on the home front as well.Courtney Migel, Meridian Dental business manager, said she had been surprised to find out how much parents pay in athletic fees. She is a sports fan and tries to support the Falcon community any way she can.In addition to donating the mouth guards, Meridian Dental sponsored the Falcon 5K Fun Run at Falcon High School Aug. 28. The funds raised from the 5K were donated to the Falcon High School cross country team.”The more money we generate for the school district and the sports programs, the more kids will be able to participate,” Migel said.Now that she’s met some of the players, Migel said she plans to go to some of the home games at Falcon High School. “They are very mature young men.”Ashley Hess, Meridian Dental dental assistant, said she has been impressed with the players. “They are very nice and sweet, say their please and thank yous,” she said.Keller said Falcon is fielding a team of great kids. “We’re lucky this year. The kids are good in the classroom and good in public,” he said.The players said they are looking forward to the season that started Aug. 28, with a game against Florence. “We’re looking really promising this year,” Nowlin said. “We graduated a lot of guys two years ago – a lot of big guys. So last year was kind of a rebuilding year and this year we’ll be on top of the game.”

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