Title:
Protective headwear
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides protective headwear which may be suitably employed for athletic pursuits. In particular aspects, the invention provides headwear that can provide protection to nose and other facial areas. Preferred headwear of the invention comprise (a) an eye protection component and (b) a face protection component downwardly extending from the eye protection component. Suitably the headwear does not substantially encompass or cover a user's ears, forehead, chin and/or skull regions.



Inventors:
Tagliente, Joseph D. (Weston, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/890295
Publication Date:
03/20/2008
Filing Date:
08/02/2007
Primary Class:
2/9
International Classes:
A42B3/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
QUINN, RICHALE LEE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOCKE LORD LLP (BOSTON, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A protective headwear system comprising: (a) eye protection component; and (b) face protection component downwardly extending from the eye protection component, wherein the headwear does not substantially encompass skull regions of a user.

2. The headwear system of claim 1 wherein the face protection component is configured to a user's nose.

3. The headwear system of claim 1 or 2 wherein the face protection component is comprised of a plastic material.

4. The headwear system of claim 3 wherein the face protection component is a clear plastic material.

5. The headwear system of any one of claims 1 through 4 wherein the face protection component comprises perforations.

6. The headwear system of any one of claims 1 through 5 further comprising padding.

7. The headwear system of claim 6 wherein the padding extends from the face protection component to a user's face.

8. The headwear system of any one of claims 1 through 7 wherein the eye protection component and face protection component are formed as a single integral unit.

9. The headwear system of any one of claims 1 through 7 wherein the eye protection component and face protection component are formed separately and assembled together prior to use.

10. The headwear system of claim 9 wherein the eye protection component and face protection component are releasably engaged during use.

11. The headwear system of any one of claims 1 through 10 wherein the headwear system is attached to a user by a strap.

12. The headwear system of claim 11 wherein the strap is an elastic strap.

13. The headwear system of any one of claims 1 through 12 wherein the headwear system does not significantly cover a user's ears, forehead and/or chin.

14. The headwear system of any one of claims 1 through 13 wherein the system does not comprise a helmet.

15. The headwear system of any one of claims 1 through 14 wherein the headwear system is suitable for lacrosse use.

16. A protective headwear system comprising: (a) eye protection component; and (b) face protection component downwardly extending from the eye protection component, wherein the headwear is attached to a user by a strap.

17. A protective headwear system comprising: (a) eye protection component; and (b) face protection component downwardly extending from the eye protection component, wherein the headwear does not significantly cover a user's ears, forehead and/or chin.

18. The headwear system of claim 18 wherein the headwear is attached to a user by a strap.

19. Use of a headwear system of any claims 1 through 18 as protective wear for lacrosse.

Description:

The present application clams the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/835,247 filed Aug. 2, 2006, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to protective headwear which may be suitably employed for athletic pursuits. In particular aspects, the invention provides headwear that can provide protection to nose and other facial areas.

2. Background

Protective eyewear is utilized to protect a wearer's eyes in sporting events, including women's lacrosse. The protective eyewear utilized for lacrosse typically consists of a frame surrounding an integral cage, which is intended to cover and protect a wearer's eyes. See, for instance, WO 2004/062401 and U.S. 2006/0117449.

In 2005, the National Federation of State High School Associations mandated that all participants in girls lacrosse wear protective eyewear during play. Participants in many other sports utilize protective eyewear, including for skiing and motorcycling.

SUMMARY

I have found that while current protective eyewear such as utilized for lacrosse can be sufficient to protect a player's eyes, it can be notably deficient in providing protection to other head regions.

The present invention provides new headwear that can afford more extensive protection to a user, but without the restriction or weight imposed by helmet-type systems.

Preferred headwear of the invention will provide protection to a user's eyes as well nose regions. A generally preferred system of the invention includes eyewear with a downwardly extending section that can protect a wearer from impact to nose regions.

Particularly preferred headwear of the invention includes goggle-type or cage-type eye protection with a downwardly extending sheet or other protective surface that will absorb any impact (e.g. from ball, stick, other player, or other object) that would otherwise contact the user's nose.

The protective sheet or other protective surface may be suitably fabricated from a variety of such as synthetics e.g. plastics, textiles, or the like. Particularly suitable may be a resilient plastic sheet (e.g. clear Lexan plastic) which can be optionally perforated to enhance ventilation.

Preferred systems of the invention also may be limited to protecting a player's nose regions, or nose and eye regions only, and thus do not further cover other head areas such as skull, ears, mouth and/or chin regions. In this regard, preferred systems of the invention are distinguished from helmets or other more encompassing headwear. Such selective protection renders these preferred systems of the invention particularly suitable for use in lacrosse where reduced weight and restriction on the player can be important.

Systems of the invention may suitably comprise an integral component, where a downwardly extending component is integrally formed (such as molded plastic) to an eyewear protective component.

Alternatively, systems of the invention may comprise two or more separate components that are joined or affixed during use. For instance, a downwardly extending face protection component can be releasably engaged with protective eyewear. In this regard, a downwardly extending sheet can be can be affixed to the bottom of currently available protective eyewear to thereby retrofit the eyewear to provide enhanced protection to nose and other facial regions.

In a preferred aspect, the face protection component may be shaped and configured to align with the lower contour of existing goggles and cages designed for eye protection. Preferably, the face protection component is lined with foam or other cushioning material to further absorb impact the face and especially protect a user's nose from any blows. Such a preferred face protection component may suitably comprise one or more attachment points for affixing the face protection component to the eye protection component. For instance, the face protection component may comprise one, two, three, four, five or more apertures, clips, flanges or other fixtures to facilitate attachment to the eye protection component. If apertures are employed, a tie or clip system can be employed to affix the face protection and eye protection components.

In preferred systems, the face protection component will not impede the user's vision.

Other aspects of the invention are disclosed infra.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1-3 show preferred headwear of the invention.

FIGS. 4-5 show a preferred headwear of the invention being worn by a user.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In one aspect, the invention provides protective headwear systems that comprise (a) an eye protection component and (b) a face protection component downwardly extending from the eye protection component. Suitably the headwear does not substantially encompass or cover a user's ears, forehead, chin and/or skull regions.

In this regard, such preferred headwear of the invention are distinguished from helmets where significant portions (e.g. greater than 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 percent of exposed surface area) of user's ears, forehead and/or skull regions are covered by the helmet.

In another aspect, the invention provides protective headwear systems that comprise (a) an eye protection component and (b) face protection component downwardly extending form the eye protection component, suitably where the headwear is attached to a user by a strap, such as an elastic strap or cinching-type strap.

In preferred headwear systems, the face protection component may be configured in a shape related or corresponding to a user's nose. For instance, the face protection component may have a backwardly sloping shape from a central ridge point.

Suitably, the face protection component may be formed of a variety of materials. A plastic construction may be preferred and can be particularly effective in protecting the wearer from impact by balls, sticks, or other players in an athletic pursuit. A clear plastic may be particularly preferred such as a polyethylene, polypropylene, polycarbonate or other material. A clear material (i.e. having good light transmittance e.g. greater than 70 or 80 percent light transmittance) such as a clear Lexan (polycarbonate) plastic may be particularly preferred. A Lexan sheet that is 0.125 inches thickness can be suitable.

The face protection component also may comprise perforations to facilitate ventilation for the user, but without compromising facial protection. Padding (such as a synthetic material) also may be interposed between an inner surface of the face protection component and the user's face (e.g. cheek).

The face protection component may have a variety of configurations and dimensions. Suitable face protection components may have a width approximately matching that of the mating eye protection component and extend downward from the eye protection component to cover at least a substantial length of a user's nose (e.g. at least about 50, 60, 70, or 90 percent of the length of a user's nose). The face protection component may extend to and encompass or otherwise cover a user's mouth region if desired to provide protection to mouth and cheek facial regions.

As mentioned above, a variety of eye protection components may be employed. A suitable eye protection component is disclosed in U.S. Published Application 2006/0117. Suitable eye protection components also are commercially available such as Vantage™ and Concept™ (wire cage goggles) eyewear available from the Brine Company. For lacrosse use, preferably the eye protection component should meet current ASTM standards.

The headwear system may be produced and assembled by a variety of approaches. Thus, as discussed above, in one configuration, the eye protection component and face protection component are formed as a single integral unit, e.g., through a batch molding process of the single unit.

In an alternate arrangement, the face protection component and eye protection component may be formed separately (e.g. by batch molding) and the two components affixed such as by clips, ties or snap fit configurations prior to use. Releasable attachment may be preferred if it is desired to use on occasion the eye protection component alone, without the face protection component.

Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 1-3 show a preferred face protection component of headwear systems of the invention. As depicted in FIG. 1, face protection component 10 includes center region 12 from which side portions 14a and 14b backwardly taper. Facial padding 16 is affixed such as by an adhesive to inner faces of those side portions 14a and 14b. Face protection component 10 also includes apertures 18a, 18b and 18c to facilitate attachment of component 10 to an eye protection component.

FIGS. 4 and 5 show preferred headwear 20 of the invention in an assembled state and worn by a user. Goggle type eye protection component 22 is engaged or affixed to face protection component 23. In this depicted system, those components 22 and 26 are affixed through plurality of apertures 26 of face protection component 23 where plastic ties 28 feed through those apertures 28 and bottom surfaces of eyewear component 22. As shown in FIG. 5, in this preferred system, headwear 20 is retained on the user through strap 30. Additionally, user's forehead 32, ears 34, chin 36 and skull 38 are not substantially covered by headwear 20.

All documents mentioned herein are incorporated herein by reference.

The foregoing description of the invention is merely illustrative thereof, and it is understood that variations and modification can be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.





 
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