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  New shin pads could stop footballers' injuries
Updated 19 September 2002, 20.22
Researchers say a lot of injuries could be avoided
Top footballers should be given better shin pads to stop them injuring themselves, researchers reckon.

Around 80 per cent of professional footballers' injuries are to the bottom half of their legs.

And a lot of these could be prevented if an extra layer of shock-absorbent foam was added to standard shin pads, a team of engineers has said.

Not adequate

Normal shin pads are made of foam and have a hard plastic coating, with a separate bit to protect the ankle. But even though Fifa rules say all professional footballers have to wear them, lots of players cut the guards to make them more comfy.

But this means they're more likely to get hurt.

The researchers, at Birmingham University, tried out making shin pads with more foam than usual, and insisted it could be done without affecting the players' game.

"The quality of shin-guards is important but we are not sure if what is worn at present is adequate," one of the researchers said.

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