DENTAL CARE SHOULD BE INCLUDED WITH THE NEW REGULATIONS IN PH SPORTS
By Ed de la Vega, DDS
08 Feb 2017
Reports indicate that Senator Manny Pacquiao is introducing or has introduced proposed legislation that will revamp our sports system and improve the lot of our athletes so that they can advance their showing abroad and possibly earn that elusive gold medal at future Olympics.
Apparently, it is also aimed at eliminating all the petty politics and ignorance that is pervasive in the present system
If I understood it right, the same proposal will overhaul the GAB as well revamp the pension and the health and welfare system for the athletes.
That is well and good particularly about the health and welfare that are to be emphasized.
However, “health and welfare” as mentioned in the proposals, does not include dental care.
I say that it's about time our leaders place more emphasis on dental care or they educate their own lot about dentistry so they can understand better why it is so damn important not only for the athletes but for themselves and their families as well.
It’s about time to include dental care whenever we talk of “improving the health and welfare of the athletes!”
I have said this many times before therefore, I can see the crabs right now saying that I am again pushing dental care because I am a dentist and the issue may eventually help me in the long run.
Did anybody ever hear or see me charged Pinoy athletes anything for what I do for them? Even Senator Pacquiao who can easily afford many times over, the mouthguards I fabricate for him every time he fights in the US, gets his for free!
It is a promise I made many years ago and a promise I intend to keep!
But, I keep on punching on this issue because 99% of the time when Pinoy athletes come to my offices to be fitted a mouthguard, boxers in particular, I see a lot of dental problems that can potentially jeopardize not only their chances to display their wares in the US but their health as well.
I cannot forget the day the ALA people brought ZC Gorres to my office in late January 2007 to be fitted a mouthguard for his fight against Fernando Montiel of Mexico. I took the required x-rays on him and found an abscess that was brewing and Gorres had barely a week left before the fight.
It left me no choice but to do an emergency root canal procedure to prevent further exacerbation of the abscess and potentially cancel the fight. Lucky for us, we were able to successfully complete the procedure, control the problem and Gorres went on to the fight without any problems, except of course, he lost the fight.
I recently saw another Filipino boxer at my office. He came to be fitted a mouthguard. The poor guy has two broken down teeth that are hardly restorable and can potentially cause abscesses weeks before his scheduled fight. That is only in the two upper quadrants of his mouth!
But my hands are tied and I cannot surgically remove the offending teeth because it’s so close to his fight day.
All I can tell the guy is hope the problem does not flare up come back after the fight and we will try to fix his problems before he goes back home.
I suggest strongly that the new proposed legislation by Senator Pacquiao includes provisions for GAB to contract private dentists in the country to provide the screening services so as to avoid problems similar to the above.
Or better still set up a facility within the GAB offices so that there will be a permanent place where athletes can go way before they leave for abroad to fight, for screening and or treatment.
Having a facility within the GAB will also curtail any possible hanky-punky regarding the screening reports.
It does not cost an arm and a leg to contract dentists or put up this kind of facility and employ even a part time dentist to do the screening. I am sure Senator Pacquiao can find the resources somewhere in the budget.
But I guess I can only wish this will happen because generally Filipinos are not well versed about dental care and sadly they consider it nothing but a painful experience and a big dent in the pocket, and not a necessity or a health concern.
But I am still hopeful Senator Pacquiao will take care of this issue because it is as important as the required CT scans and blood tests. A bad case of dental problem can easily railroad a proposed fight, not to mention nasty events like what happened many years ago to Francisco Guilledo (Pancho Villa). Remember?
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