Abstract

Soccer shin guards have been shown to provide significant protection against minor injuries such as scrapes and contusions. However, several studies suggest that serious injuries such as tibia fractures may still occur despite the use of shin guards [1]. The majority (79%) of such fractures are minimally displaced, suggesting that the injuring impacts are slightly above the fracture tolerance of bone [1]. In this respect, shin guards with improved impact properties may be able to decrease the risk of serious injuries in soccer. Impact testing of shin guards has shown that some designs and materials provide better protection than others [2]. Generally, a shin guard reduces impact by using a stiff shell over which to distribute the impact and a compliant material that absorbs impact energy. Unfortunately, the protective physical characteristics of guards correlate best with increased weight and thickness, factors that conflict with players’ preferences for lighter, more comfortable guards.

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