Boy suffers horrific shin pad injuries

THE FAMILY of a boy who received a “horrific” leg injury in a freak accident while playing football are calling for an investigation into the design of the shin pads the youngster was wearing.

David Green

THE FAMILY of a boy who received a “horrific” leg injury in a freak accident while playing football are calling for an investigation into the design of the shin pads the youngster was wearing.

Giles Buck, 12, of Great Finborough, near Stowmarket, was badly injured when a plastic shin pad - a safety barrier - was pushed through a foam edging and cut deeply into his leg below the knee. His family fears he may never be able to play sport again.

The accident happened during a weekend tournament at Needham Market involving teams of youngsters.

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The boy, a pupil at the private Finborough School, was taken by ambulance to Ipswich Hospital where emergency surgery was performed. He returned to the hospital on Thursday for a further consultation.

The family are concerned about the design of the shin pads which are widely used by professional and amateur players. Unlike the shin pads of yesteryear, modern pads are often of a type which are anchored to the foot via a step-in harness and have straps around the back of the leg.

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Richard Buck, 41, Giles' father, said yesterday: “He just slid in to take the ball away; there was no contact with his opponent. The foam must have been pushed back and the edge of the plastic just cut into him like a razor blade.”

Mr Buck said Giles had been very brave but there had been “shock and tears” among other players and spectators as the extent of the injury became apparent.

The young referee in charge of the match had not been able to carry on. Three experienced referees among the spectators had all said they had never seen an injury like it.

Mr Buck said he believed the plastic “guard” should, in future, be covered in protective foam or rubber, not just edged. Otherwise, the old-style pads should be used.

Simon Sinclair, Finborough School's director of sport, said the incident had occurred in a tournament unconnected with the school.

“The wound is something I have never seen before and I think he is very lucky to still have his leg. I went to visit him - he has a brace in and can't move.

“I also saw the photo of his leg when he arrived at hospital and, quite honestly, it is horrific. We are uncertain as to whether Giles will be able to play sport again.”

Mr Sinclair said he believed the design of the shin pad was “dangerous”.

He added: “Giles is a very talented footballer. He is an all-rounder who plays rugby and cricket as well as football.”

Giles, who is now having to walk with the aid of crutches, said: “A player was running towards the ball and I remember sliding in to take it away from him. I got up and felt something wrong with my leg - then I saw the blood. I didn't cry - I just tried to keep as calm as I could.”

A spokesman for Nike, manufacturers of the shin pad involved in the incident, said: “The safety of our consumers when using Nike products is of paramount importance to Nike.

“We are very concerned to hear about the injury sustained by Giles and our sympathy goes out to him, along with our wishes for a quick recovery.

“All of our shinguards are tested to stringent standards, both as part of the design process, then with the finished product at the point of manufacture. We also use external, independent testing facilities to ensure our products comply with all relevant product safety laws on an ongoing basis.

“This is the first such injury that has been brought to our attention and as well as our ongoing safety checks we will look closely at the product involved in this incident.”

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