You can lay up glass cloth or carbon fiber cloth with epoxy on the inside of the handguards to strengthen it. If done right, it will outlast you. I use West Systems epoxy resin, it is one of the strongest out there and penetrates wood well. Not saying it won't eventually split if you drop it repeatedly, but I have seen some wooden canoes that were strengthened in this manner, and they stand up to heavy use very well even when run aground.
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?