Title:
GLOVE THUMB GUARD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates to protecting a thumb from sports related injury. The invention provides a rubber layer under a hard cap to provide for increased frontal and dorsal thumb protection without reducing hand flexibility. The invention is a glove comprising a thumb sheath adapted to receive a thumb, a protective pad proximate the outer distal end, a cap mounted on the protective pad, and an overmould mounted between the protective pad and the cap.



Inventors:
Purnell, John W. (Sinking Spring, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/041377
Publication Date:
09/03/2009
Filing Date:
03/03/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/163, 2/161.1
International Classes:
A41D13/08; A41D19/00; A41D19/015
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HADEN, SALLY CLINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SAND, SEBOLT & WERNOW CO., LPA (CANTON, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A glove comprising: a thumb sheath adapted to receive a thumb, said thumb sheath having a dorsal side and an outer distal end; a protective pad proximate the outer distal end and having a first and second side, and wherein the first side is mounted adjacent the dorsal side of the thumb sheath; a cap mounted adjacent the second side of the protective pad; and an overmould mounted between the protective pad and the cap.

2. The glove defined in claim 1, wherein the cap has a top, side and front walls, and wherein the front wall extends downwardly from the top wall and is proximate to and spaced from the outer distal end of the thumb sheath.

3. The glove defined in claim 2, wherein the cap is generally “U” shaped.

4. The glove defined in claim 3, wherein the overmould includes spaced interior and exterior walls; wherein the interior wall is proximate to and spaced from the outer distal end of the thumb sheath; and wherein the exterior wall is adjacent the front wall of the cap.

5. The glove defined in claim 4, wherein the overmould is generally “U” shaped.

6. The glove defined in claim 5, including a lip formed on the exterior wall of the overmould; and wherein an outer edge of the front wall of the cap is seated in said lip.

7. The glove defined in claim 1, wherein the protective pad has an exterior casing defining an interior chamber, and wherein the interior chamber is filled with a shock absorbing material.

8. The glove defined in claim 7, wherein the exterior casing is formed of a flexible material.

9. The glove defined in claim 7, wherein a protective plate is mounted between a top wall of the casing and the protective pad.

10. The glove defined in claim 9, further comprising one or more fasteners extending outwardly from the top wall of the cap and secure the cap to the protective pad.

11. The glove defined in claim 10, wherein the fasteners are pressure snaps and extend through holes formed in the protective plate to secure the cap to the protective pad.

12. The glove defined in claim 9, wherein the protective plate is formed of a rigid plastic material.

13. The glove defined in claim 1, wherein the cap is formed of a rigid plastic material.

14. The glove defined in claim 1, wherein the overmould is formed of an elastomeric material.

15. The glove defined in claim 1, wherein the overmould is secured to the cap by an adhesive.

16. The glove defined in claim 1, wherein the protective pad is sized to allow the thumb sheath to bend at a first knuckle of the thumb.

17. A glove comprising: a thumb sheath adapted to receive a thumb, said thumb sheath having a dorsal side and an outer distal end; a thumb guard mounted on the dorsal side of the thumb sheath adjacent the outer distal end, said thumb guard including: a protective pad formed of a shock absorbing material having first and second sides, said first side being located adjacent the dorsal side of the thumb sheath; an outer cap mounted on the protective pad, said cap having a top wall and a front wall extending downwardly from the top wall and spaced from the protective pad and from the distal end of the thumb sheath; and an overmould mounted between the protective pad and the outer cap.

18. The glove defined in claim 17 further comprising a first and second end on the protective pad, said first end adapted to extend past a thumb tip, and said second end adapted to extend to a first knuckle of the thumb to allow the thumb to bend at the first knuckle.

19. A glove comprising: a thumb sheath adapted to receive a thumb, said thumb sheath having a dorsal side and an outer distal end; a thumb guard mounted on the dorsal side of the thumb sheath adjacent the outer distal end, said thumb guard including: a protective pad mounted on the dorsal side of the thumb sheath; and an outer cap mounted on the protective pad having a front wall outwardly from the protective pad providing a crush zone between front wall and protective pad.

20. The glove defined in claim 19, wherein the cap is formed of a rigid plastic material.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The invention relates generally to hand protection. More particularly, the invention relates to protecting a thumb from sports related injury. Specifically, the invention provides a rubber layer under a hard cap to provide for increased frontal and dorsal thumb protection without reducing hand flexibility in a lacrosse glove.

2. Background Information

Many contact sports require players to wear gloves due to the risk of injury to the player's hands. Sports such as lacrosse naturally leave the thumb exposed to more severe injury due to its position on a lacrosse stick. While a player's hand grasps a lacrosse stick, the thumb rests on top of the lacrosse stick and protrudes outwardly and along the lacrosse stick where it is exposed to injury. This can lead to thumbs being “stoved” or pushed violently back into the knuckle and palm from contact with another player. Additionally, the dorsal side of the thumb is exposed when a player is holding a lacrosse stick, which causes injuries from the common “slashing” motion of an opponent's lacrosse stick. Protecting the front of the thumb, as well as the dorsal side is important to allow players to participate in the game with minimal hand injuries.

Some prior art thumb protection devices have adequately solved this problem of protecting the dorsal side and tip of the thumb. These prior art thumb protection devices use rigid material on either the entire thumb, or per thumb phalanx, or a rigid cap structure around the thumb tip. For example, see U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,543,057, 5,237,703, 5,996,117, and 6,813,781.

A rigid body with no joints for movement of the thumb locks the thumb into one position, usually a gripping position. This restricts the range of movement and puts the player at a disadvantage because a relatively fixed gripping position is not always desired in a dynamic sport. When hinges are added to a rigid body corresponding with the thumb knuckles, the range of movement is still less than a natural non-restricted thumb would enjoy.

Additionally, rigid bodies are not sufficient protection for a thumb tip. With rigid material, a direct force to the thumb tip will not receive any dampening, which a resilient material or resilient tip protection system would provide. Inertial movement of a thumb within the glove will result in stoving or damage to the thumb tip because the rigid protection could impact the thumb.

Therefore the need exists for a gloved thumb protection system that protects the dorsal side of the thumb as well as the thumb tip, allows the thumb a full range of movement, and provides a dampening and “shock absorbing” quality to the protective system over the thumb tip.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The thumb protected glove of the present invention includes a glove having a thumb sheath adapted to receive a thumb. The dorsal side of the thumb sheath includes a protective pad that securely holds a cap on the dorsal side of the distal end of the thumb, as well as extending over the thumb tip. An overmould layer of rubber or other elastomeric material is adhered to the underside of the cap, and resides between the dorsal padding and the cap, which provides a resilient material for absorbing the shock of an impact. The overmould provides two spaced walls adjacent to the thumb tip, which further dampens an impact by flexing and bending inwardly, while still resisting the force.

The thumb is protected from a force directed at the top or dorsal side of the thumb by the protective padding under the cap as well as the cap itself. The thumb is protected from a force directed at the thumb tip by the front side of the cap and the overmould layer between thumb tip and the cap. The overmould compresses and resists the pressure, resulting in the thumb tip ultimately receiving a lesser force.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred embodiment of the presented invention, illustrative of the best mode in which Applicant has contemplated applying the principals of the invention, is set forth in the following description and is shown in the drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present invention, showing the palm side of the glove;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the thumb guard;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged exploded sectional view of the thumb guard;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view of the assembled thumb guard, with a finger shown in phantom; and

FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view of the overmould.

Similar numbers refer to similar parts throughout the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The lacrosse glove of the present invention, having an improved thumb guard thereof, is indicated generally at 1 and is shown in detail in FIGS. 1-5. Glove 1 has an exterior casing 4 and includes a hand receiving portion 5 proximate a cuff portion 11. Hand receiving portion 5 includes a plurality of finger sheaths 7 for receiving and enclosing each of the four fingers of a player's hand. Each finger sheath 7 is proximate hand receiving portion 5, and extends from an area proximate the base of the player's fingers to the end of the fingers. Hand receiving portion 5 also includes a thumb sheath 9 for receiving and enclosing a thumb 2 of a player's hand. Thumb sheath 9 is proximate hand receiving portion 5, and extends from an area proximate the base of thumb 2 to the end of a thumb tip 10. Thumb sheath 9 includes an outer distal end 6 and a dorsal side 8 facing outwardly from the palm area of hand receiving portion 5. An improved thumb protective guard is indicated generally at 3 and is mounted on the dorsal side of thumb sheath 9, at outer distal end 6 thereof.

Referring to FIGS. 2-3, guard 3 is comprised of a cap 13, an overmould 15, and a protective pad 17. Cap 13 is formed from a rigid material, such as a hard plastic, and has a generally U-shaped cross-section. Cap 13 includes a curved front wall 21, a top wall 23, a back wall 25, and a pair of curved side walls 32 which merge into front wall 21 and provide a hollow interior 34. Cap 13 also includes a pair of one-way pressure snaps 27 extending downwardly from the inner surface of top wall 23. Each pressure snap 27 has a shaft 28 and two flexible flanges 29 terminating in heads 26.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 5, overmould 15 is generally U-shaped and includes an exterior wall 37 and a spaced interior wall 39 that merge together into side walls 40 shown in FIGS. 2 and 5. Overmould 15 is formed from rubber or other elastomeric material and is used to absorb the shock of a force applied to the thumb area, usually by a player's stick. The U-shape of overmould 15 conforms to the shape of the tip of thumb 2. Exterior wall 37 and interior wall 39 define a crush zone 41 therebetween and deflects and absorbs force impacted thereon from an object, such as an opposing player's stick. Overmould 15 includes a lip 47 extending from the distal end of exterior wall 37 that wraps around the bottom of front wall 21 and side walls 40. Lip 47 creates a U-shaped channel 45 for receiving the bottom peripheral edge 43 of front wall 21 and side walls 32 of cap 13 to add stability and an area to assist in securing cap 13 to overmould 15. Walls 37 and 39 and crush zone 41 keep the overall mass of guard 3 low, by eliminating material that would be required in a solid block of elastomeric material, thus reducing weight while still providing protection for thumb 2.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, protective pad 17 includes a somewhat triangular shaped casing 52 having a top wall 50, a pair of side walls 53 which merge into a curved front wall 54, and a back wall 58 which form an interior chamber 49. Casing 52 preferably is formed of a fabric and is sewn to dorsal side 8 of thumb sheath 9. Top wall 50 includes two holes 57, each hole sized to receive a pressure snap 27. Interior chamber 49 is filled with a block of shock absorbing material 51, such as a foam or rubber, and includes a pair of snap chambers 33. A rigid protective plate 55 is mounted in chamber 49 between top wall 50 of casing 52 and material 51. Protective plate 55 is formed with two holes 56 each sized to permit the passage of pressure snap 27 therethrough and aligned with holes 57 formed in pad 51.

Cap 13 is attached to protective pad 17 by flanges 29 of pressure snaps 27 passing through aligned holes 56 and 57 and into snap chambers 33. Flanges 29 expand to hold pressure snap 27 securely in snap chamber 33 and resist compressing by protective plate 55 when reverse pressure is applied to snaps 27, thereby holding cap 13 securely to protective pad 17.

Guard 3 is formed by securing overmould 15 to cap 13 and further securing cap 13 to protective pad 17. An adhesive 14 is applied to exterior wall 37 of overmould 15, which is pressed against interior side of front wall 21 of cap 13. As shown in FIG. 4, bottom peripheral edge 43 of front wall 21 is received by lip 47 and assists in holding cap 13 and overmould 15 together. The sub-assembly of cap 13 and overmould 15 is positioned adjacent protective pad 17 with pressure snaps 27 positioned to be inserted through holes 56 and 57. As pressure is applied to top wall 23 of cap 13, holes 56 and 57 and snap chamber 33 receive pressure snaps 27 and cap 13 is securely held to protective pad 17.

The present invention 1 protects thumb 2 from serious injury by blunting external pressure. As shown in FIG. 4, when thumb 2 is in thumb sheath 9, thumb tip 10 is proximate overmould 15. When an external force as shown by arrow A in FIG. 4, is applied to rigid front wall 21 of cap 13, the force is transmitted to exterior wall 37 of overmould 15 where it flexes and moves towards interior wall 39, dissipating the energy into crush zone 41. Pressure towards thumb tip 10 from an opponent or ball results in crush zone 41 contracting to receive and blunt the pressure. The pressure is dissipated sufficiently to minimize pressure to thumb tip 10. When an exterior force is applied towards dorsal side 8 of thumb sheath 9, as shown by arrow B, FIG. 4, from an opponent's stick or ball, it results in the force being transmitted into shock absorbing material 51 by top wall 23 of cap 13 pushing into protective material 51 and blunting the pressure.

The ventral side of thumb 2 is proximate exterior casing 4 with little or no intervening protective layers or padding except glove casing 4. This allows a player's thumb to have flexibility of movement and can exert a sufficient grip on the lacrosse stick. A pivot space 59 is provided between protective pad 17 and a standard padding 61 used on many types of lacrosse gloves, which provides a break in the padding on the dorsal side 8 of thumb sheath 9 closely adjacent a first knuckle 60 of thumb 2. Protective pad 17 extends from approximately the thumb tip 10 to the first thumb knuckle 60. Pivot space 59 allows a player to bend thumb 2 at knuckle 60 and maintain the normal range of motion for thumb 2.

In a typical method of operation for the present invention 1, a lacrosse player puts on protective glove 3. The player's hand slides into hand receiving portion 5, and cuff portion 11 is secured at his wrist. Exterior casing 4 surrounds the player's hand, fingers and thumb, and provides a base to which dorsal hand and finger protection is adhered. The player's fingers slide into finger sheath 7, and thumb 2 slides into thumb sheath 9.

As a player engages in lacrosse, various collisions occur with the ball or opponent's lacrosse stick and body. The player's thumb 2 is directly exposed above the fingers when gripping a lacrosse stick, and many injuries occur to tip 10 of the thumb. As shown by arrow B in FIG. 4, when a dorsal collision occurs, cap 13 pushes down into protective material 51. The energy of the applied force travels through top wall 23 of cap 13 into protective plate 55, where it is dissipated by protective material 51. Pivot space 59 allows thumb 2 to bend at knuckle 60. As thumb 2 bends and conforms to the pressure of the force, the force is deflected or dampened and additional energy dissipation occurs.

As shown by arrow B in FIG. 4, when a frontal collision occurs, cap 13 pushes into exterior wall 37 of overmould 15. Overmould 15 is strong enough to resist a nominal force, but flexible enough to allow compression from a significant, and injury-threatening force. Exterior wall 37 compresses into crush zone 41 and dissipates most of the pressure and force from the collision. When the force reaches thumb tip 10, the force is sufficiently blunted so as to not injure the player. Overmould 15 acts as a buffer against any applied force. Cap 13 without non-rigid overmould 15 would transfer a significant force to thumb 2 through inertia and possibly result in an injury. By using non-rigid overmould 15, the inertia is dampened before it reaches thumb tip 10. When sufficient force exists for the impact inertia to reach thumb tip 10, the impact is less damaging with rubber material intermediate thumb tip 10 and the object. The rubber or other elastomeric material used in overmould 15 compresses with pressure and helps to dampen the shock of a collision.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, cap 13 may be attached directly to protective pad 17 without overmould 15. Front wall 21 and top wall 23 provide protection to thumb tip 10 and thumb 2 from a front or dorsal impact. Overmould 15 may be omitted if desired from the present invention to reduce overall cost or weight, but the preferred embodiment described above provides the best protection to a player.

The foregoing description of the present invention described a lacrosse glove, but could easily be adapted to include a hockey or cricket glove or other protected glove.

In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness, and understanding. No unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirement of the prior art because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadly construed.

Moreover, the description and illustration of the invention is an example and the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described.