By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Concussion is the most common injury in youth ice hockey but a new study finds wearing a simple device could reduce a child’s risk.

Mouth guards are designed to protect a child’s teeth and jaw but when researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada looked at data on youth ice hockey players between 11 and 17 years of age, they found wearing mouth guards reduced the odds of concussion by 64 percent.

Custom-fit models did not seem any more protective than less expensive off-the-shelf ones.

It’s not clear why mouth guards help, but they think they may reduce the force from the jaw bone to the skull and may activate neck muscles to reduce head acceleration.

Dr. Mallika Marshall