Title:
APPARATUS FOR PREVENTING NECK INJURY
United States Patent 3818509


Abstract:
An elastic strap for preventing neck injuries used in combination with a head piece and a body harness has fastening members thereon for engagement to a securing member on the head piece and on the body harness to limit the forward movement of the head piece.



Inventors:
Romo, Leon E. (Annapolis, MD)
Andrish, Jack T. (Euclid, OH)
Application Number:
05/391239
Publication Date:
06/25/1974
Filing Date:
08/24/1973
Assignee:
ROMO L,US
ANDRISH J,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/425, 2/909
International Classes:
A42B3/04; (IPC1-7): A42B1/08
Field of Search:
2/2,3 128
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3671974FOOTBALL TRAINING HARNESS1972-06-27Sims
1136307N/A1915-04-20Bourdon



Primary Examiner:
Guest, Alfred R.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Oldham & Oldham Co.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. An apparatus for preventing neck injury in combination with a head piece and a body harness, the improvement comprising,

2. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 1, wherein a plurality of fastening members are located at each end of said elastic strap.

3. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 1, wherein said head piece and said body harness has a plurality of securing members.

4. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 1, wherein said head piece is a helmet and said body harness is a shoulder pad assembly.

5. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 4, wherein said helmet securing member and said shoulder pad securing member are button clips.

6. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 5, wherein said elastic strap fastening members are button clips.

7. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 5, wherein said helmet button clip is located on the back of said helmet.

8. An apparatus for preventing neck injury as in claim 5, wherein said shoulder pad button clip is located on the back of said pads.

9. An elastic strap for preventing neck injuries in combination with a head piece and a body harness, comprising,

10. An elastic strap for preventing neck injuries as in claim 9, wherein said elongation of said strap ranges from about 40 percent to about 75 percent.

11. An apparatus for preventing neck injury in combination with a headpiece and a body harness, the improvement comprising,

12. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 11, wherein a plurality of fastening members are located at each end of said elastic strap and said headpiece and said body harness have a plurality of securing members.

13. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 11, wherein a securing member is located on the back of the headpiece and a securing member is located on the back of the body harness and a strap engages said back securing members.

14. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 11, wherein said headpiece is a helmet and said body harness is a shoulder pad assembly.

15. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 14, wherein at least one strap is located on each side of said helmet.

16. An apparatus for preventing neck injury, as in claim 15, wherein at least one securing member is located on the back of said helmet and on the back of said shoulder pads, and at least one strap having fastening members at each end thereof engages said securing members to limit forward movement of said helmet.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a device for preventing neck injury. More specifically, the present invention relates to an elastic strap for preventing neck injury during the employment of a head piece and a body harness.

In contact sports such as football, a great deal of protection equipment for the player is highly desirable. Nevertheless, even then, the player is often still subject or susceptible to various injuries. For example, football players with more and more regularity are literally using their heads to block and tackle opponents since the modern day helmets readily absorb shock. However, such contact and collision cause the head to violently snap if the opponent is not hit directly head-on. One of the most potential serious injuries which can occur is the flexion cervical sprain which occurs when the head is snapped forward. Due to the propensity for fracture-dislocation of the neck, this injury is life threatening and often is fatal.

Present protection equipment is not satisfactory. Heretofore, the best preventive measure was to have the individual use reverse neck rolls. However, the undue limitation of motion as well as inconvenience to the player makes this piece of equipment unsatisfactory.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for preventing neck injuries.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for preventing neck injuries, as above, which limit the forward motion of an individual's head.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for preventing neck injuries, as above, in which an elastic strap is connected at one end to a body harness and the other end to a helmet.

In general, an apparatus for preventing neck injury during the employment of a head piece and a body harness device has an elastic strap with fastening members thereon. The head piece is provided with a securing member as is the body harness device and the strap engages these securing members and thereby limits the forward movement of the head piece as upon impact.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention is described in detail without attempting to discuss all of the various modifications in which the invention might be embodied, the invention being measured by the appended claims and not by the details of the specification.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an elastic strap according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the elastic strap showing a plurality of fastening members.

FIG. 3 is a schematic view showing the strap connected to a football helmet as well as to a piece of body protection equipment.

FIG. 4 is a side schematic view similar to FIG. 3 showing the employment of the strap.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

An apparatus for preventing neck injury according to the concepts of the present invention is generally indicated by the numeral 10. Basically, the concept relates to an elastic type device which is attached to the body and to the head of a person so that the forward movement of the head upon impact is limited. The device can, of course, be utilized in any situation wherein the human head is subjected to snapping forces and finds a preferred use in contact or collision sports, such as workouts on a trampoline and in football.

As shown, apparatus 10 is generally formed of an elastic strap 11 made according to conventional methods of conventional material such as cotton, nylon, rayon or the like and contains elastic material such as rubber to impart elasticity.

Fastening members, generally indicated by the numeral 12, usually reside in the end portions 13 of strap 11 and may be adhesive material or a mechanical item. Desirably, fastening members 12 are mechanical fasteners such as button clips 14. As best seen in FIG. 2, the button clips may be either male or female and preferably exist in a plurality in order to permit the use of the strap in a variety of situations. In the embodiment disclosed, the elastic strap measures 1 1/2 inches by 9 1/4 inches and the button fasteners which are of the 1/4 inch eyelet type are placed about 1 1/4 inches, 1 1/4 inches, 4 inches and 1 1/4 inches apart to permit employment in a variety of situations. Other locations, number of button clips as well as type of fasteners can, of course, be utilized in the present invention, as, e.g., Velcro fasteners, (T.M. of American Velcro, Inc.)

Turning to FIGS. 3 and 4, elastic strap 11 can be used in association with a head piece generally indicated by the numeral 21 and a body harness generally indicated by the numeral 31. Generally, the head piece may simply be a belt of elastic material around the head. More elaborate structures include a helmet 22 of the type used in football. Preferably, the helmet as shown in FIG. 4, has at least a securing member, generally indicated by the numeral 23, such as a small button clip for engagement with one of the strap button clips. Such securing member may be located about 2 1/2 inches above the back lip 24 of the helmet. Moreover, the helmet may have a plurality of securing members and may be of any conventional type as may be the fastening members 12 of the strap. Body harness 31 may simply be a belt wrapped around the chest of an individual, preferably below the arms, a packing harness or the like. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, it is a conventional football shoulder pad assembly, generally indicated by the numeral 35. The shoulder pads have back protection vests 36 to protect the upper portion of an individual's back and are secured together as by strings 37 to maintain the shoulder pads in proper position. As with the helmet, any securing member, generally indicated by the numeral 38, may be used such as button clips which are attached to the central portion of the back of the shoulder pads. Also, a plurality of such securement clips may be utilized.

In actual use, once the shoulder pads and helmet have been assembled, strap 11 is attached to securing members 23 and 38 of the helmet and shoulder pads through fastening members 12 with the head located in a normal upright position as shown in FIG. 4. Because the strap runs from the back of the individual's head to the upper portion of the midback, normal side to side movement of the head as well as turning of the head is still quite freely permitted. Due to the plurality of fastening members on the strap, a single strap can fit a number of individuals as well as helmets and shoulders pads which have varying locations of securing members 23 and 38. Since the strap is elastic, slight forward and downward movement of the head is permitted against the elasticity of the strap. Great forward movement normally caused during rough contact or a collision which would normally cause a flexion cervical sprain is prevented since elongation of the strap is short, approximately 40 - 75 percent. Moreover, the shock upon impact is absorbed by the strap which retards free forward movement of the head as well as reducing the speed of such head movement. Should an individual's head reach the elongation extent of the elastic strap, the remaining forward motion energy of the head will be absorbed by the helmet instead of being transferred to the highly susceptible neck.

Elastic straps made according to the concept of the present invention according to the physical embodiment set forth above have been tested in seventeen football practice sessions by 22 players to establish its feasibility. A breakdown of the players' positions revealed that nine were defensive linemen, five were defensive backs, four were offensive linemen and the remaining four were offensive backs. The straps were snapped into place onto the helmets and should pads with the player's head in an upright position and were worn during all practice sessions. Eight of the 22 involved players had a previous history of neck sprains and burners or pulled muscles. During the entire testing period, not one neck sprain, burner or other neck ailment, was reported. Moreover, the elastic straps were well accepted by both players and the coaches and interfered very little with normal movement of the head.

Although only a single strap need be used, a plurality of straps may be attached to the back of the headpiece 21 and the body harness 31.

Moreover, according to another embodiment of the invention, not shown, straps 11 may be mounted on each side of a person's head either alone or in combination with a back strap to prevent neck injuries caused by lateral movement. Accordingly, the headpiece such as a football helmet and the body harness such as a pair of shoulder pads may contain side or laterally located securing members to permit the installation of lateral straps so as to prevent burners and the like when a person's head is snapped or jerked sideways. The strap may have a plurality of fastening members and the headpiece and the body harness may have a plurality of securing members as set forth above.

As apparent to one skilled in the art, modifications to the preferred embodiment can be made without departing from the spirit of the invention herein disclosed and claimed, the scope of the invention being limited solely by the scope of the attached claims.