Shin guards are worn in a variety of sports including football and hockey, and are designed to protect the sensitive tibia bone from injury. Some sports have mandatory rules governing the wearing of shin pads to reduce the number of injuries. If you are a regular or even occasional player, make sure you invest in a pair of good-quality shin pads to prevent long periods of absence from the pitch due to injury.
Although we often think of shin guards as a modern invention, perhaps due to the cutting-edge technologies often used in their construction, they are actually descended from ancient armour worn by infantry troops. Read on to find out more, along with four other tips about shin guards that you probably didn’t know!
Shin pads are descended from the greave – like many modern objects, shin guards are descended from objects used in battle. The greave was a piece of armour that protects the leg, made from materials including padded cloth and steel. They were most commonly used by heavy infantry, and were developed in ancient times, although they continued to be used during the middle ages.
Unions would like to see teachers wearing shin pads – in August 2011 in the UK, unions urged the Government to provide teachers with shin guards to protect them from violence from school pupils, citing the number of students expelled each year for unruly behaviour. The GMB union said that teachers and teaching assistants should be issued with protective gear, including shin pads, to prevent injury.
Shin pads for sport were first used in cricket – shin guards were originally used in cricket to give the batsman a strategic advantage; by placing his legs in front of the stumps he could use his legs to block the path of the ball and prevent his wicket being taken. The overuse of this led to ‘leg before wicket’ rules being introduced in 1809. Leg guards continue to be used in cricket, mostly as protection, and are worn by the wicket-keeper, the batsman, and by fielders close to the batsman.
The most expensive shin pads cost £150 ($233) – shin pads range in price, all the way from a couple of pounds for a non-branded pair of guards to £150 for a top-of-the-line pair of Diadora Totti Mondiali Shin Pads. Personally cast from Francesco Totti’s leg and featuring F1 Technology, these carbon-fibre shin pads are made from a layer of Titanium fibre on the inside, and a layer of Kevlar fibre on the outside. If you’ve got money to spare, these are the bee’s knees.
People initially laughed at the use of shin guards – the first person to use shin guards in Association Football, or soccer, was Sam Weller Widdowson in 1874. At the time soccer was unregulated and brutal, and Widdowson was looking for ways to cut down on the injuries sustained during the course of a match. As a regular cricket player, Widdowson decided to cut down a pair of cricket shin guards and attach them to his legs using straps of leather. And he was met with ridicule from the other players! However, they soon saw the advantages and so the practice began to spread.
We hope you found these facts interesting – please remember to wear shin guards when practising or playing in a match to keep your legs protected and comfortable.