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Original Issue

En Garde

These shin guards from Parker Athletic Products don't fit the
mold of the typical protective device. To make them, Parker
adapted fiberglass technology similar to that used to shape casts
around broken bones. The company offers custom-fit soccer shin
guards for adults ($28.95) and kids ($14.95). Using similar
technology, Parker also makes ankle and forearm guards for field
and ice hockey, lacrosse and baseball.

Flat and soft as a sponge when dry, the guards conform to the
shape of the shin and begin to harden when wet. A gauzelike wrap
is provided to hold the guards in place while they set. In 20
minutes they are shaped permanently, and they're machine
washable. Tests conducted by independent labs have shown that
this type of shin guard offers better protection against injuries
than its less sculpted counterparts do. So why not cast a pair
now, rather than risk needing a cast later?

--Loren Mooney

COLOR PHOTO: CHIP SIMONS [Soccer player wearing Parker Athletic Products shinguards]