Title:
High-friction glove/wrist guards for ice skating
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective glove/wrist guard device is provided that prevents hands from slipping out from under a falling ice skater when the ice skater extends his or her hands to break a fall. The protective glove/wrist guard device may include a palm surface portion having a high-friction surface portion, to provide both high-friction when contacting ice, and wrist support to help prevent wrist and hand injuries. Alternatively, the protective device may be in the form of a glove with a high friction material disposed on a palm surface portion of the glove.



Inventors:
Comstock, Dawn R. (Columbus, OH, US)
Collins, Christine (Columbus, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/652874
Publication Date:
07/12/2007
Filing Date:
01/11/2007
Assignee:
CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL INC.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B71/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, AMBER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSHALL, GERSTEIN & BORUN LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A protective device for placement on the hand of an ice skater during ice skating, the protective device comprising: an upper portion covering at least a portion of a back of the hand of the ice skater; and a lower portion covering at least a portion of a palm of the hand of the ice skater; wherein at least one of the upper portion and the lower portion includes an ice engaging surface that is covered with a high-friction material.

2. The protective device of claim 1, wherein the high-friction material is sponge rubber.

3. The protective device of claim 1, further including at least one stiffener for supporting the wrist of the ice skater.

4. The protective device of claim 3, including a flexible glove portion removably attached to the at least one stiffener.

5. The protective device of claim 1, wherein the ice engaging surface covers at least a portion of the palm of the hand of the ice skater.

6. A protective glove for ice skating, comprising: an upper portion covering at least a portion of a back of the hand of the ice skater; and a lower portion covering at least a portion of a palm of the hand of the ice skater; wherein the lower portion includes a palm surface portion that is covered with a high-friction material.

7. The protective glove of claim 6, wherein the high-friction material is a sponge rubber material.

8. A method of ice skating while reducing the risk of injury suffered by an ice skater from a fall that may occur during ice skating, the method comprising: wearing a protective device on each hand during ice skating, each protective device including an ice engaging surface that is covered with a high-friction material; and in the event of a fall, extending one or both hands toward the ice such that the high-friction material contacts the ice.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the high-friction material is sponge rubber.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the ice engaging surface covers at least a portion of the palm of the hand of the ice skater.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/758,155, filed on Jan. 11, 2006, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Disclosure

This disclosure relates generally to protective equipment for ice skating, and more particularly, to equipment for preventing head and face injuries among ice skaters.

2. Background Description

Recreational ice skating is a popular pastime among adults and children. Unfortunately, falls that occur while ice skating can result in serious injuries, such as for example, head and face injuries when a skater's face or head impacts the ice due to a fall.

Recent research focusing on pediatric subjects has indicated that there are distinctive differences in patterns of injuries of ice skaters compared to roller and in-line skaters. While roller and in-line skaters tend to sustain fractures to the wrist and forearm, ice skaters were significantly more likely to sustain concussions. There is no substantial difference in the direction that ice and roller skaters typically fall (both groups typically fall forward much more often than they fall backward or to the side) and the majority of both groups attempt to break their fall with their hands.

However, ice skaters are much less successful in preventing injury by using their hands to break a fall, compared to roller and in-line skaters. A significantly higher proportion of ice skaters have their head impact the ice during a fall, even when attempting to break a forward fall using outstretched hands. This appears to be because ice is a low-friction surface, while roller rinks, sidewalks, streets, etc., present significantly more friction as compared to ice, e.g., when a skater's hands impact the ground during a fall. Thus, when an ice skater sticks out his or her hands when falling, the hands slip out from under the skater and the skater's head impacts the ice. Conversely, when roller skaters or in-line skaters use their hands to break a fall, they are typically able to keep their head from hitting, although they may sustain injury to their hands, forearms, and/or wrists.

In order to prevent injuries to the hands, forearms, and/or wrists of roller skaters and in-line skaters, wrist guards have been developed that include one or more rigid inserts or splints, that serve to stabilize the wrist upon impact with the ground. One example of such wrist guards is disclosed in Hu, U.S. Pat. No. 5,600,849, issued on Feb. 11, 1997. The Hu patent discloses a wrist guard with a rigid palm pad for protecting a wearer against impact and abrasion. Such wrist guards, however, do not present a high-friction surface for use during ice skating to help prevent a skater's head from impacting the ice due to the skater's hands slipping upon contacting the ice.

One possible solution to the problem of head injuries for ice skaters is to promote helmet use among ice skaters, and particularly among pediatric ice skaters. However, because ice skaters typically fall forward, only a helmet with a full face shield will offer full protection from head injury. Children are especially unlikely to tolerate wearing such a helmet for recreational ice skating. Accordingly, a more effective method of preventing head injury among ice skaters is to prevent the head from hitting the ice during a fall.

This disclosure is directed to overcoming one or more of the problems or disadvantages associated with the prior art.

SUMMARY

According to one aspect of the disclosure, a protective device is provided that reduces the tendency of hands slipping out from under a falling ice skater when the ice skater extends his or her hands to break a fall. The protective device may be a glove/wrist guard and may include an ice engaging surface covered with a high-friction material. The device may provide both high-friction when contacting ice, and wrist support to reduce the risk of wrist, forearm, and/or hand injuries.

The high-friction material may be any suitable material, such as a soft, spongy, rubber compound similar to those that are used on the soles of broom ball shoes, curling “gripper” shoes, and the like.

According to another aspect of the invention, a protective glove for ice skating includes an upper portion covering at least a portion of a back of the hand of the ice skater and a lower portion covering at least a portion of a palm of the hand of the ice skater. The lower portion may include a palm surface portion that is covered with a high-friction material.

According to still another aspect of the invention, a method of ice skating while reducing the risk of injury suffered by an ice skater from a fall that may occur during ice skating is provided. The method includes: wearing a protective device on each hand during ice skating, each protective device including an ice engaging surface that is covered with a high-friction material; and, in the event of a fall, extending one or both hands toward the ice such that the high-friction material contacts the ice.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view, taken from below, of a protective glove/wrist guard that includes a high-friction surface on a palm portion thereof;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the glove/wrist guard of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the glove/wrist guard of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the glove/wrist guard FIG. 1; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view, taken from below, of a protective glove that includes a high-friction surface on a palm portion thereof.

While the method and device described herein are susceptible to various modifications and alternative constructions, certain illustrative embodiments thereof have been shown in the drawings and will be described below in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the specific forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the disclosure and the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Although the following text sets forth a detailed description of numerous different embodiments of the invention, it should be understood that the legal scope of the invention is defined by the words of the claims set forth at the end of this patent. The detailed description is to be construed as exemplary only and does not describe every possible embodiment of the invention since describing every possible embodiment would be impractical, if not impossible. Numerous alternative embodiments could be implemented, using either current technology or technology developed after the filing date of this patent, which would still fall within the scope of the claims defining the invention.

It should also be understood that, unless a term is expressly defined in this patent using the sentence “As used herein, the term ‘______’ is hereby defined to mean . . . ” or a similar sentence, there is no intent to limit the meaning of that term, either expressly or by implication, beyond its plain or ordinary meaning, and such term should not be interpreted to be limited in scope based on any statement made in any section of this patent (other than the language of the claims). To the extent that any term recited in the claims at the end of this patent is referred to in this patent in a manner consistent with a single meaning, that is done for sake of clarity only so as to not confuse the reader, and it is not intended that such claim term by limited, by implication or otherwise, to that single meaning. Finally, unless a claim element is defined by reciting the word “means” and a function without the recital of any structure, it is not intended that the scope of any claim element be interpreted based on the application of 35 U.S.C. §112, sixth paragraph.

With reference initially to FIG. 1, a protective device for covering a hand of an ice skater may be in the form of a glove/wrist guard 10 and may include a lower portion, covering at least a portion of a palm of the hand of the ice skater, that may be in the form of a lower stiffener 12 disposed on the palm area of the hand of the ice skater, and an upper portion, covering at least a portion of a back of the hand of the ice skater, that may be in the form of an upper stiffener 14 disposed on the back side of the hand of the ice skater. Each of the stiffeners 12 and 14 may be made from a rigid material, such as plastic or metal, and serve to support the wrist of the ice skater. The glove/wrist guard 10 may also include one or more attachment bands 16, that may be removably secured using any appropriate fastening mechanism, such as, for example, hook-and-loop fasteners. The glove/wrist guard 10 may also include a flexible glove portion 18 that may be removably attached to the stiffeners 12 and 14, and may be sized and shaped to conform to the shape of a skater's hand 20. Alternatively, the glove/wrist guard 10 may be sized and shaped to fit over a glove or a mitten. The flexible glove portion 18 may be made from any suitable material, such as leather, elasticized fabric, etc.

The lower stiffener 12 and/or the glove portion 18 may include an ice engaging surface in the form of a palm surface portion 22. The palm surface portion 22 may cover all or part of the palm of a user's hand and/or the palm side of one or more fingers of a user's hand, and may be covered with a high-friction material, such as sponge rubber of the type that is used typically for the soles of curling shoes, broomball shoes, and the like. Alternatively, any other suitable high-friction material may be used on the palm surface portion 22. The palm surface portion may be attached to the lower stiffener 12 and/or the glove portion 18 in any suitable manner, such as, for example, by adhesive bonding, stitching, etc.

In the event that a skater wearing a pair of the glove/wrist guards 10 falls to the ice, the skater may simply extend his or her hands in an instinctive manner to break the fall, such that the high-friction surface of the palm surface portion 22 of each glove/wrist guard 10 contacts the ice. The palm surface portion 22 helps to create a load path between the ice and the skater's shoulders, and thereby may tend to prevent the skater's head from impacting the ice (or at least lessens the energy of an impact of the skater's head on the ice), rather than sliding out from under the skater, as would be the case without having the benefit of such a high-friction surface.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 5, one or both of the stiffeners 12 and 14 may be omitted (and the upper and lower portions may be made from fabric, leather, etc.), and a high-friction material patch 24 may be simply provided on a palm surface portion 26 of a flexible glove 28, for example by stitching, adhesive bonding, etc., in order to provide a protective device for ice skating In other respects, the glove 28 may be both constructed and used in a manner substantially similar to the glove/wrist guard 10 of FIGS. 1 through 4. The glove 28, while not offering a great deal of wrist support to a skater during a fall, may nonetheless help prevent the skater's head from impacting the ice when the skater uses his or her hands to break a fall, in a manner similar to that discussed above with respect to the glove/wrist guard 10.

While the preceding text sets forth a detailed description of numerous different embodiments of the invention, it should be understood that the legal scope of the invention is defined by the words of the claims set forth at the end of this patent. The detailed description is to be construed as exemplary only and does not describe every possible embodiment of the invention since describing every possible embodiment would be impractical, if not impossible. Numerous alternative embodiments could be implemented, using either current technology or technology developed after the filing date of this patent, which would still fall within the scope of the claims defining the invention. For example, the high-friction material may be applied to other surfaces instead of or in addition to the palm surface portion, and the rubber compound described above may be supplemented by or substituted by other high-friction materials, such as those that are used on other footwear traction devices. For example, other types and/or combinations of high-friction materials, such as those that include metal coils, metal studs, etc., may be used, as well as non-slip fabrics, and/or safety tape that may include an abrasive surface similar to sandpaper. In addition, the invention is not limited to the context of ice skating, and could be used in conjunction with any activity that is performed on a slippery surface, such as, for example, walking on ice, playing broomball, curling, etc. Other aspects and features of the disclosure may be obtained from a study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the appended claims.