History Behind the Invention of Shin Guards

Shin guards as the name implies are equipments for protecting the shin (the front of the lower leg form below the knee to above the ankle) in the course of a sport. It is used in various games like ice hockey and rugby. These items were made popular by soccer otherwise known as football and base ball.

Soccer is a game played by eleven people in one team, against another team in a rectangular field. Whichever team comes out of the game scoring the highest number of goals wins the game. Because of the nature of the game, players get kicked and injured on different parts of the body with the shin recording the highest amount of kicks and injuries.

Shin guards were therefore, invented for the protection of the shin. They are made of plastic covered with clothes; they carry claps by the side, which the player uses to fit into size with the leg. In most cases, the player covers it with his hose commonly called socks. In the late nineteenth century, Samuel Weller Widdowson solved the problem of constant avoidable and manageable injuries in a game.

He invented the soccer shin guard in Nottingham forest. The team of that town was the first ever to wear shin guards in a soccer game. These products are the only protective covering permitted for players in football soccer game. For base ball, these accessories were invented by roger Phillips Bresnahan.

He was an American base ball player and later manager from 1901 to 1945. Born in the year 1879 in Ohio, Roger played his first game 22 years later in the American league with the Baltimore team. Following closely behind, he played the nationals with New York Giants. After playing virtually every possible position in the game, Bresnahan finally settled for catching.

He eventually rose in his career to become the coach of the St 'Louis Cardinals then he moved to Chicago Cubs and finally to the Detroit tigers. It was at this point that he realized that catchers need protection in the game. Therefore, the invention of these guards for baseball catchers was an execution of his thoughts and dreams.

Aside from these accessories, there is also other protective gear worn by base ball players. They include leather gloves that are padded for catching the ball, protective helmets for batters, protective chest gear and a cage like mask for catchers. Only catchers wear shin guarding items in baseball, unlike in soccer where every player wears it. The use of protective shin guards can not be fully emphasized.

The shin, apart from the fore head, is the only part in the body without sufficient flesh covering. Injuries at the shin can be very painful and takes a lot of time to heal. A hit at the shin goes directly to the bone and at the moment of the hit destabilizes the player. Protective shin guards have been modified with better synthetic materials to offer protection at the peak and at the SAME time very light color : as so not to weight on the player.

Source by G. Smitty

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