Title:
Protective pad for neck
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates to a pad to protect against impact force on the posterior neck when worn by a person playing hockey. The invention is comprised of a dual-layer pad, a hard shatter-proof outer shell with a foam-cushioned inner shell, which absorbs the shock of impact from a hockey puck or stick hit to the base of the neck. It can be made in various sizes as needed. This invention further comprises a shock absorbing pad with fasteners to secure the pad to the back of the hockey helmet. This invention further comprises a protective helmet system with releasable attachment. Releasable attachment means coupled to the helmet to permit the neck pad to be securely fastened.



Inventors:
Mrowka, Kate V. (Cheshire, CT, US)
Mrowka, Colleen M. (Cheshire, CT, US)
Application Number:
10/837199
Publication Date:
11/18/2004
Filing Date:
05/03/2004
Assignee:
MROWKA KATE V.
MROWKA COLLEEN M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/05; A41D27/26; (IPC1-7): A41D27/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Colleen Mrowka (Cheshire, CT, US)
Claims:

What I claim as my invention is:



1. A pad that is attached to and/or suspended from the back of a hockey helmet to absorb the shock of impact from a puck or stick.

2. A pad with a contoured convex shape consisting of a hard shatter-proof outer shell with a foam-cushioned inner shell, measuring 3⅛ (±2 inches) width, by 4¼ inches (±3 inches) inches length, by {fraction (6/8)} inch (±{fraction (5/8)} inches) thick which can be attached to and/or suspended from the back of a hockey helmet to absorb the shock of impact.

3. A pad according to claim 2, wherein the hard shatter-proof outer shell in said pad measures {fraction (2/8)} inch±{fraction (2/8)} inch and the cushioned layer of said pad measures {fraction (5/8)} inch±{fraction (7/8)} inch.

4. A pad according to claim 2 comprised of an expanded polypropylene (EPP) pad.

5. A pad according to claim 2 comprised of a dual layer system wherein the outer layer is plastic and the inner layer is foam.

6. A pad according to claims 2, wherein said pad is comprised of a hard plastic portion glued to, attached to, molded to, or reinforced by a cushioned expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam pad.

7. A pad according to claim 2, comprised of carbon fibers or carbon reinforced with plastic (graphite).

8. A pad according to claim 2, comprised of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foams.

9. A pad according to claim 2, comprised of expanded polyurethane (EPU) foams.

10. A pad according to claim 2, comprised of expanded polyethylene (EPE) foams.

11. A pad according to claim 2, comprised of ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA) foam.

12. A pad according to claim 2, wherein the foam is glued or molded to, or reinforced by fiberglass.

13. A pad according to claim 2, wherein said paid is not attached to the helmet, and has 2 holes pre-drilled near the top of the pad.

14. A pad according to claim 2, through which there are plastic clips which would in turn fasten said pad to the back of the helmet.

15. A pad according to claim 2, through which there are metal clips which would in turn fasten said pad to the back of the helmet.

16. A pad according to claim 2, through which there are plastic tie fasteners which would in turn attach said pad to the back of the helmet.

17. A pad according to claim 2, through which there are plastic loops which would in turn attach said pad to the back of the helmet.

18. A pad according to claim 2, through which there are metal loops which would in turn attach said pad to the back of the helmet.

19. A pad according to claim 2, through which there are rubber ties which would in turn attach said pad to the back of the helmet.

20. A pad according to claim 2, through which there are rubber loops which would in turn attach said pad to the back of the helmet.

21. A pad according to claim 2, through which there are Velcro fasteners which would in turn attach said pad to the back of the helmet.

22. A pad according to claim 2, with adjustable fasteners made of plastic, metal, rubber, cloth, or elastic, attached to the helmet, or attached to the pad which in turn would attach to the helmet.

23. A pad according to claim 2, which is formed with or without convexity, comprised of materials that could be heat molded by the consumer.

24. A helmet, constructed wherein the back of the helmet extends downward with a padded portion, wherein the padded portion is constructed according to claim 2.

25. A helmet, constructed wherein the back of the helmet extends downward with a padded portion, wherein the padded portion is constructed according to claim 2, and is hinged so that it moves forward and backward to move with the head of the person wearing the helmet.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATION

[0001] This patent application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. No. 60/471,365 filed on May 17, 2003. The subject matter of that provisional application is incorporated by reference in its entity herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention herein relates to a protective pad that effectively reduces the occurrence of injury and/or death to people while playing hockey.

[0003] Direct trauma accounts for approximately 80% of all injuries in the game of hockey. While playing the game of hockey, players shoot a rubber hockey puck across the ice and sometimes into the air. The puck becomes a frozen weapon that can travel up to 160 kilometers/hour and generate impact forces exceeding 5500 Newton's.

[0004] The best method to prevent injury, or reduce the risk thereof, is to wear protective pads, proper fitting helmets, and use proper equipment. The protective pads and garments currently available for use include: the hockey helmet; a thin neck protector (fabric) worn at the bottom of the neck below the hyoid bone; shoulder and chest pads; elbow pads; padded gloves; padded shorts; shin and knee pads. At present, there are no pads available to absorb the shock of impact if hit at the base of the skull, where the neck and brain-stem are vulnerable.

[0005] There is a gap between the bottom of the existing hockey helmets and the uppermost area of the shoulder pads. This gap becomes even larger when a player flexes his/her neck (moves the head downward.) The body area that is left unprotected is very vulnerable, and if hit in that gap, the player could sustain brain injury or death.

[0006] A tragic illustration of this vulnerability occurred in December, 2000 when a 12-year-old Cheshire Massachusetts boy was struck in the back of the neck with a hockey puck during youth hockey practice. He died the next morning.

[0007] This invention probably would have saved his life.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] This invention relates to a protective pad for the neck. The objective of the invention is to protect the wearer against impact force to the posterior neck when worn by a person playing hockey. The invention is comprised of a dual-layer pad, a hard shatter-proof outer shell with a foam-cushioned inner shell, which absorbs the shock of impact from a hockey puck or stick hit to the base of the neck. It can be made in various sizes and thicknesses as needed. This invention further comprises a shock absorbing pad with fasteners to secure the pad to the back of a hockey helmet. This invention further encompasses a protective helmet system with releasable attachment. Releasable attachment means the invention coupled to the helmet to permit the invention to be securely fastened.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a two-dimensional drawing of the invention as viewed from the front.

[0010] FIG. 2 is a two-dimensional drawing of the invention as viewed from the back.

[0011] FIG. 3 is a cross-section drawing of the invention as viewed from the side (convex contour not depicted).

[0012] FIG. 4 is a cross-section drawing of the invention as viewed from the top.

[0013] FIG. 5 is a sketch drawing of the invention as viewed from the back as it is attached to a hockey helmet.

[0014] FIG. 6 is a sketch-outline of the human head/skull as viewed from the side and indicating the vulnerable location of the brainstem.

[0015] FIG. 7 is a sketch-outline of the human head wearing a hockey helmet (as known from prior art), as viewed from the side and depicting the still vulnerable brain stem area.

[0016] FIG. 8 is a sketch-outline of the human head, wearing a hockey helmet with the cranium defense protective pad fastened appropriately.

WRITTEN DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

[0017] This invention relates to a protective pad that attaches to a hockey helmet to protect the areas of the hockey player's head and neck that is left unprotected with the current helmet design and typical protective pads. This pad hangs from the back of the hockey helmet and shields the posterior cervical spine, the neck, and the brain stem of the person wearing the helmet. This invention also encompasses a helmet system whereby a shock absorbing pad is attached to, or constructed as a component of, the back of the helmet.

[0018] The protective pad is comprised of a hard outer surface layer to withstand the force of impact and decrease the impact force on the player and an inner foam cushioned layer to further provide shock attenuation. The cushioned inner layer is cemented, glued, and/or molded to the hard outer shell. This invention also embodies a pad comprised of a dual layer of materials. The pad is contoured with a slight convex shape from the top to the bottom to resemble the normal curve of the cervical spine.

[0019] There are two holes drilled through the top of the pad with adjustable fasteners to attach the pad to the bottom-rear of the hockey helmet. Since the pad is fastened to the helmet only by the two fasteners at the top of the pad, the pad is able to swing freely in the anterior-posterior (forward-backward) position so as not to interfere with the neck movement required during play. As the player moves his head forward and further exposes the brainstem at the base of the skull, the protective pad moves slightly in toward the neck thereby maintaining its protective abilities. It does not restrict cervical flexion and extension, rotation, or lateral flexion.

[0020] In event of the pad being a component of a helmet system, the portion of the helmet that protects the neck is hinged to the mainstay of the helmet. The hinge of this assembly thereby allows for unrestricted cervical movement for the wearer of the helmet.





 
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