A Donegal Town man has become a central figure to the results of Premier League newcomers Cardiff City and many other sports.
Thanks to the preparatory work of general dental practitioner, Dr. Lyndon Meehan, formerly from Donegal Town, Cardiff City have enjoyed a great opening to the season in the top flight. After losing to West Ham, they have defeated title favourites Man City and last weekend drew with Seamus Coleman’s Everton.
As part of their preparation, Dr. Meehan, who shares his work between Morriston Hospital, Swansea as a restorative dentist, and private practice, has had a huge involvement in making sure the players representing Cardiff City are healthy.
Dr. Meehan is something of a pioneering figure in this regard and is much sought after, not just in soccer, but in all sports.
A BDS graduate of the University of Wales College of Medicine, London’s Royal College of Surgeons, Sports Dentistry qualifications from the renowned Eastman Dental Institute London. Gained ‘Team Dentist Sports’ course qualification in the USA in 2011, a current member of the International Academy of Sports Dentistry, and recently elected Board Member of Dental Trauma UK.
Now in his fifth season as club dentist to Cardiff City FC he said: “Dental input has a huge role to play within modern day sports medicine. My involvement in the pre-season period with Cardiff is to provide dental screenings of all senior and junior(academy) players. This allows me to build up a portfolio on each player’s dental health. Footballers have very different calorific demands to the average patient; this is specially true in the younger athlete. Their calorific intake is often double that of an average person, possibly in the form of carbohydrate (sugar) intake.
“These sugars can be found in a variety of sports drinks and through frequent overuse may cause such dental issues as caries and toothwear through acid erosion. It is vital to establish an early caries prevention (decay) programme through the use of good dietary and oral hygiene habits and the regular use of high fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes in these athletes as they are at a much higher risk.
“In season, I attend to any dental issues that crop up such as fractured restorations or dental trauma sustained on a match day. My ultimate goal as a dentist to the club is to make sure dental issues do not happen such as abscesses or dental pain in season. A player missing a game due to a preventable dental problem could potentially cost the club millions
“For the coming season I will be in attendance at all of Cardiff’s home games to support home and away medical staff from a dental perspective”.
He is currently working on establishing a network of team dentists - involved in the Premier League football clubs initially - and subsequently Leagues 1 and 2. This dental network will allow good cross communication between clubs and all sports medicine professionals involved.
“It is imperative these dental issues and sports dentistry in general receives a heightened awareness within modern day sports medicine”, he said.
This season he has also undertaken a role as sports dentist to the Football Association of Wales recently covering the national team’s recent home game against Ireland. Currently a dental adviser to Premier League Southampton FC, having this season established a pre-season dental screening programme and care pathway for the club sports medicine staff.
Dr Meehan has also clinically supported a number of UK sports organisations and teams over the last seven years. Among these, he was tournament dentist for the U-20 Junior Rugby World Cup and was responsible for the introduction in 2009 the role of dentist to the UK Schools Sports Games on an annual basis.
His current weekly affiliations within rugby are to Pontypridd RFC, and he works alongside current dentist Dr Chris Lewis to the Welsh Rugby Union assisting with the senior squad for their Six Nations and November Internationals campaigns. In preparation for the 2011 Rugby Union World Cup, in conjunction with the Under Armour sportswear group, he personally oversaw fabrication of mouthguards for the entire Welsh Rugby squad.
As well as this he currently provides advice on dental treatment to the England and Wales Cricket Board and national county cricket sides and for several weeks in 2012 he played a major role providing dental treatment and advice in the ‘Athlete’s Village’s polyclinic during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.