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Alums Team Up For Safety's Sake

Alums Team Up For Safety's SakeTwo former Tufts lacrosse players – one now a dentist, the other a lacrosse coach – joined forces to provide a high school lacrosse team with free customized mouth guards.

Boston [05.03.05] Mouth guards are mandatory for many high school sports, but they are not always comfortable. Luckily for one high school lacrosse team, the shared bond between two Tufts graduates and former lacrosse players facilitated a generous donation of customized mouth guards for the players.

"A smile is everything, a flawed smile due to an injury can be devastating to a kid. Also, replacing a tooth can cost up to $2,500. I care about these players, and I wanted to help," Dr. Sarah Richardson(A'88, D'93) told the Belmont Citizen-Herald.

Richardson donated the cost of the mouth guards, which are valued at approximately $125 each, for the 20 players on the Belmont High girls lacrosse team.

"Now my players will be safer, communication on the field will be easier, breathing while playing will be less of an effort, and to top it all off, we'll look pretty intimidating with our various mouthguard styles," Belmont High Marauders lacrosse coach Jessica MacLellan (A'98) told the Citizen-Herald.

The plan came about earlier this spring, as the two former Tufts lacrosse players– who had met at alumni functions – noted the opening of Richardson's new practice in Belmont.

"The women's lacrosse alumni are a tight circle at Tufts," Richardson told the newspaper. "I approached her this March with the idea of the mouth guards, and she was very receptive."

The American Dental Association reports that 200,000 oral injuries are avoided each year thanks to the use of mouth guards, according to the Citizen-Herald.

"Sarah does an unbelievable job connecting with all the students," MacLellan told the Citizen-Herald. "Going to the dentist as a team was quite an experience, and it was actually really fun. I couldn't stop laughing when the three captains were getting fitted.

The coach says the gift means a lot to the team.

"Its experiences like these that athletes will remember down the road," MacLellan told the newspaper. "I know that I'll never forget it."

And the Marauders– whose new mouth guards boast colorful patterns ranging from zebra-print to rainbow – are definitely grateful for Richardson's gift.

"I can breathe and talk with it a lot more on the field, and that's very important," senior captain Rebecca Cottam told the Citizen-Herald. "Talking with your teammates is such a big part of the game, and now it's no problem doing that."

As for Richardson, she says she was just glad to help.

"It's nice to be able to share the excitement with them," Richardson told the newspaper. "It's a win-win situation for me, to be able to interact with them and to provide safety."

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