For millions of years, the human body has been evolving. We’re taller, we’ve lost the majority of our neanderthalic fur and more recently (in roughly the past three years) we’ve seen our shin bones shrink to almost a third of their size.
Wait, hold up. That’s not true, obviously. But it does make you think: “Why are shin pads getting smaller?”
Off the top of my head, it’s mainly the younger players that are getting this trend *12 inches* off the ground. But I simply can’t get my head around why this is becoming more and more of a regular sighting.
Anyone who has played football will at some point remember what it feels like to wear a pair of protectors under their socks – hardly an inconvenience, right? Gone are the days of the huge Sondico shin pads with the big ankle waddings. Sure, they undoubtedly gave much needed protection to the ankle, (and of course the shin) but it can easily be argued that wearing these can limit mobility and possibly even affect one’s touch.
In the 00’s, it became more popular to wear long pads which cover a player’s WHOLE shin.
Perhaps I’m particularly squeamish, but the sheer thought of someone going in studs up onto my shin makes me cringe harder than the thought of Roy Keane’s ‘challenge’ on Alf-Inge Håland’s knee.
We can all remember the infamous ‘shin-snap’ of Djibril Cisse against Blackburn. Or if you can’t remember that far back, how about the time the poor bastard had his other shin broken in fucking half two years later?
Perhaps both of his leg breaks could have been avoided if he was wearing shin pads no bigger than the size of a credit card a la Jack Grealish…
How about Aaron Ramsey? A player who’s been on the receiving end of one of these horror challenges – do you see him wearing these pathetic excuses of leg protection? I think not.
The argument about player protection came startlingly back into focus last weekend when Seamus Coleman suffered a pretty horrific double leg break.
Now I’m not saying that shin pads can prevent fractures like this, far from it. But in an age where a footballer’s career is more valuable than ever – why are these younger players putting what seems to be a fashion statement above what is sensible and safe?
It’s setting a bad example.
By Jack Richards