Title:
MASK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shock absorber, for use with headgear having a faceguard, has a sliding member that does not extend beyond the support structure of the shock absorber in a way that would leave it vulnerable to damage. A headgear having a faceguard provides a protected mounting location for mounting a shock absorber for the faceguard.



Inventors:
Klein, Jason (Orange, CT, US)
Engel, Aaron (Unionville, CT, US)
Application Number:
13/874808
Publication Date:
11/06/2014
Filing Date:
05/01/2013
Assignee:
KLEIN JASON
ENGEL AARON
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
267/136
International Classes:
A42B3/12; F16F1/06; F16F1/12; F16F3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PAUL AND PAUL (PHILADELPHIA, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shock absorber for supporting a protective faceguard relative to a head-engaging member, the shock absorber comprising: a support structure adapted for rigid attachment to one of the head-engaging member and the faceguard; a guide rod supported by said support structure in a fixed position relative to said support structure, said guide rod having first and second end portions, a length, and a longitudinal axis; a sliding member guided by said guide rod for rectilinear movement in a direction parallel to said longitudinal axis of said guide rod, said sliding member being adapted for rigid attachment to another one of the head engaging member and the faceguard; and a resilient member acting on said sliding member to bias said sliding member toward said first end portion of said guide rod, wherein said resilient member can absorb at least a portion of the impact energy of an object impacting the faceguard when the impact causes said sliding member to move toward said second end portion of said guide rod.

2. The shock absorber according to claim 1, wherein said sliding member has an opening therethrough and said guide rod extends through said opening.

3. The shock absorber according to claim 2, wherein said support structure supports said guide rod at said first end portion of said guide rod and at said second end portion of said guide rod.

4. The shock absorber according to claim 3, wherein said resilient member is a coil spring having a plurality of coils and said guide rod extends through said plurality of coils.

5. The shock absorber according to claim 4, wherein said coil spring is positioned intermediate a portion of said sliding member and said second end portion of said guide rod.

6. The shock absorber according to claim 5, wherein said coil spring has a first end and a second end and wherein said first end of said coil spring bears directly or indirectly against a portion of said sliding member and said second end of said coil spring bears directly or indirectly against a portion of said support structure proximate said second end portion of said guide rod.

7. The shock absorber according to claim 5, wherein said sliding member has at least one hole for engagement by at least one sliding member fastener to thereby rigidly attach said sliding member to the another one of the head engaging member and the faceguard.

8. The shock absorber according to claim 7, wherein said support structure has means for engagement by at least one support structure fastener to thereby rigidly attach said support structure to the one of the head engaging member and the faceguard.

9. The shock absorber according to claim 1, wherein said support structure is a bracket comprising a base plate, a first endplate having a hole for said first end portion of said guide rod, a second endplate having a hole for said second end portion of said guide rod, a first lateral flange provided on a first side of said base plate, and a second lateral flange provided on a second side of said base plate, said first endplate being provided proximate a first end of said base plate, said second endplate being provided proximate a second end of said base plate opposite said first endplate.

10. The shock absorber according to claim 9, wherein said first lateral flange extends approximately laterally from said first side of said base plate, said second lateral flange extends approximately laterally from said second side of said base plate in a direction approximately opposite that of said first lateral flange.

11. The shock absorber according to claim 9, wherein each of said first lateral flange and said second lateral flange has means for engagement by at least one support structure fastener to thereby rigidly attach said support structure to the one of the head engaging member and the faceguard.

12. The shock absorber according to claim 1, wherein movement of said sliding member is limited to a portion of said length of said guide rod.

13. The shock absorber according to claim 1, wherein said guide rod is a first guide rod having said first and second end portions, said length, and said longitudinal axis, and the shock absorber further comprises a second guide rod extending parallel to said first guide rod, wherein said second guide rod has first and second end portions, a length, and a longitudinal axis extending parallel to said longitudinal axis of said first guide rod.

14. The shock absorber according to claim 13, wherein said sliding member has a first opening therethrough and said first guide rod extends through said first opening and said sliding member has a second opening therethrough and said second guide rod extends through said second opening.

15. The shock absorber according to claim 14, wherein said support structure supports said first guide rod at said first end portion of said first guide rod and at said second end portion of said first guide rod and said support structure supports said second guide rod at said first end portion of said second guide rod and at said second end portion of said second guide rod.

16. The shock absorber according to claim 15, wherein said resilient member is a first coil spring having a plurality of coils and said first guide rod extends through said plurality of coils of said first spring, and the shock absorber comprises a second coil spring having a plurality of coils and said second guide rod extends through said plurality of coils of said second spring.

17. The shock absorber according to claim 16, wherein said first coil spring is positioned intermediate a first portion of said sliding member and said second end of said first guide rod, and said second coil spring is positioned intermediate a second portion of said sliding member and said second end of said second guide rod.

18. The shock absorber according to claim 17, wherein said first coil spring has a first end and a second end and wherein said first end of said first coil spring bears directly or indirectly against a first portion of said sliding member and said second end of said first coil spring bears directly or indirectly against a first portion of said support structure proximate said second end of said first guide rod, and said second coil spring has a first end and a second end and wherein said first end of said second coil spring bears directly or indirectly against a second portion of said sliding member and said second end of said second coil spring bears directly or indirectly against a second portion of said support structure proximate said second end of said second guide rod.

19. The shock absorber according to claim 17, wherein said sliding member has at least one hole for engagement by at least one sliding member fastener to thereby rigidly attach said sliding member to the another one of the head engaging member and the faceguard.

20. The shock absorber according to claim 19, wherein said support structure has means for engagement by at least one support structure fastener to thereby rigidly attach said support structure to the one of the head engaging member and the faceguard.

21. The shock absorber according to claim 13, wherein said support structure is a bracket comprising a base plate, a first endplate having a first hole for said first end portion of said first guide rod and a second hole for said first end portion of said second guide rod, a second endplate having a first hole for said second end portion of said first guide rod and a second hole for said second end portion of said second guide rod, a first lateral flange provided on a first side of said base plate, and a second lateral flange provided on a second side of said base plate, said first endplate being provided proximate a first end of said base plate, said second endplate being provided proximate a second end of said base plate opposite said first endplate.

22. The shock absorber according to claim 21, wherein said first lateral flange extends approximately laterally from said first side of said base plate, said second lateral flange extends approximately laterally from said second side of said base plate in a direction approximately opposite that of said first lateral flange.

23. The shock absorber according to claim 21, wherein each of said first lateral flange and said second lateral flange has means for engagement by at least one support structure fastener to thereby rigidly attach said support structure to the one of the head engaging member and the faceguard.

24. The shock absorber according to claim 13, wherein movement of said sliding member in a direction parallel to said longitudinal axis of said first guide rod is limited to a portion of said length of said first guide rod.

25. A protective headgear comprising: a head-engaging portion; a faceguard; and a plurality of shock absorbers according to claim 1, each of said plurality of shock absorbers connecting said faceguard to said head-engaging portion.

26. The headgear in accordance with claim 25, wherein said head-engaging portion comprises first and second frame members, said first frame member being larger than said second frame member and being sized to substantially surround a wearer's face, a plurality of pairs of L-shaped bars connecting said second frame member to said first frame member, each pair of L-shaped bars supporting a respective one of said plurality of shock absorbers such that said respective shock absorber is in a protected location between said first frame member and said second frame member of said head-engaging portion.

27. A protective headgear comprising: a head-engaging portion; a faceguard; and a plurality of shock absorbers, each of said plurality of shock absorbers connecting said faceguard to said head-engaging portion, wherein said head-engaging portion comprises first and second frame members, said first frame member being larger than said second frame member and being sized to substantially surround a wearer's face, a plurality of pairs of L-shaped bars connecting said second frame member to said first frame member, each pair of L-shaped bars supporting a respective one of said plurality of shock absorbers such that said respective shock absorber is in a protected location between said first frame member and said second frame member of said head-engaging portion.

28. The shock absorber according to claim 2, further comprising: a tubular sleeve provided in engagement with said opening of said sliding member, said guide rod extending through said tubular sleeve, so as to reduce the possibility of said sliding member jamming on said guide rod.

29. The shock absorber according to claim 14, further comprising: a first tubular sleeve provided in engagement with said first opening of said sliding member, said first guide rod extending through said first tubular sleeve, so as to reduce the possibility of said sliding member jamming on said first guide rod; and a second tubular sleeve provided in engagement with said second opening of said sliding member, said second guide rod extending through said second tubular sleeve, so as to reduce the possibility of said sliding member jamming on said second guide rod.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

INCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to headgear having a faceguard that is provided with shock-absorbing means, and to a shock absorber suitable for use as the shock-absorbing means.

(2) Description of Related Art, Including Information Disclosed Under 37 C.F.R. Sections 1.97 and 1.98

The health effects of concussions, including repeated minor concussions, suffered by athletes engaged in sports where there is a substantial risk of severe impacts to the athlete's head and face have become a major concern to the athletes, sports teams, governing bodies of sports leagues, and the public in recent years. Impacts to the head may also cause neck injuries that are sometimes severe enough to cause the athlete to become paralyzed. This is particularly a concern with impacts directed frontally toward the face. Athletes in such sports have traditionally worn protective headgear in the form of a hard helmet with a facemask rigidly attached to the helmet. Soft cushioning pads are provided inside the helmet around the wearer's head excluding the facial area. In some other sports, for example baseball, the protective headgear is simply a rigid facemask with cushioning padding on the outer frame that is held against the area around the wearer's face. Although the traditional headgear do mitigate the effect of impacts to the head and neck to some extent, they do not reduce the risk of head or neck injury to the desired degree. Accordingly, protective headgear having shock-absorbing elements between the faceguard portion and the head-engaging portion of the headgear have been proposed in the prior art to further reduce the risk of injury. However, none of the prior art headgear with shock-absorbing faceguards have been widely adopted. The need remains for a shock absorber for use with the faceguard of headgear that is robust enough, compact enough, unobtrusive enough, and adaptable enough for large scale adoption. The need also remains for headgear that can effectively incorporate such a shock absorber. There is also a need for headgear that will keep the shock absorber well protected. None of the prior art headgear are seen to teach or suggest the unique features of the present invention or to achieve the advantages of the present invention that will become apparent from the description and drawings that follow.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a shock absorber and a headgear that employs the shock absorber. The headgear includes a faceguard and a head-engaging member. The shock absorber supports the protective faceguard relative to the head-engaging member. The shock absorber includes a support structure, a guide rod, a sliding member, and a resilient member. The support structure is adapted for rigid attachment to either the head-engaging member or the faceguard. The guide rod is supported by the support structure in a fixed position relative to the support structure. The guide rod has first and second end portions, a length, and a longitudinal axis. The guide rod is supported by the support structure near the end portions of the guide rod. The sliding member is guided by the guide rod for rectilinear movement in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the guide rod. The movement of the sliding member is confined between the ends of the guide rod. The sliding member is adapted for rigid attachment to either the head engaging-member or the faceguard depending upon which of these is the one to which the support structure is attached. The resilient member acts on the sliding member to bias the sliding member toward one end of the guide rod. In the illustrated example, the resilient member is a coil spring that is provided on the guide rod between the sliding member and the second end portion of the guide rod and biases the sliding member toward the first end portion of the guide rod. In the illustrated example, the support structure is attached to the head-engaging member and the sliding member is attached to the faceguard. When an object impacts the faceguard, the sliding member is pushed from one end of the guide rod toward the other end resulting in the compression of the coil spring. Thus, the resilient member, in this case the coil spring, can absorb at least a portion of the impact energy of the object and cushion the blow to the faceguard.

The headgear of the present invention includes a head-engaging portion and a faceguard. The head-engaging portion is made of first and second enclosed frames. The first frame is larger and designed to surround the wearer's face. The first frame is the closest to the wearer's face. The second frame surrounds the wearer's face and appears roughly concentric with the first frame when viewed from the front in relation to the wearer's face. The second frame is spaced apart from the first frame such that it is farther from the wearer's face as compared to the first frame. The second frame is connected to the first frame by pairs of L-shaped bars. Each pair of L-shaped bars supports a shock absorber in a protected location between the first and second frames of the head-engaging portion. The faceguard includes an enclosed frame that surrounds the wearer's face when viewed from the front in relation to the wearer's face. The frame of the faceguard is larger than the second frame of the head-engaging portion and envelops the second frame of the head-engaging portion when viewed from the front in relation to the wearer's face. The faceguard includes a first plurality of bars that are substantially parallel to the sagittal plane of the wearer's body and a second plurality of bars that are parallel to the transverse plane of the wearer's body. These pluralities of bars are attached to the frame of the faceguard such that they are positioned in front of the wearer's face and can thus provide protection to the wearer's face. The pluralities of bars are positioned to provide complete protection to the entire frontal area of the wearer's head. The frame of the faceguard is attached to the plurality of shock absorbers.

In the illustrated embodiment, the support structure of shock absorber is rigidly attached to a corresponding pair of the L-shaped bars while the sliding member is rigidly attached to the frame of the faceguard. The shock absorber or the headgear could be configured such that the sliding member is attached to the head-engaging portion and the support structure of the shock absorber is attached to the faceguard. Also, the attachments between the shock absorber and the head-engaging portion or the attachment between the shock absorber and the faceguard or both could be made flexible instead of rigid as long as the attachment means used is resilient and strong enough to withstand the punishment it would be expected to receive.

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide a shock absorber for a faceguard that has a sliding member that does not extend beyond the support structure of the shock absorber so that the sliding member is not in a vulnerable position.

It is another object of the invention to provide a shock absorber for a faceguard that is robust.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a shock absorber for a faceguard that is compact.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a shock absorber for a faceguard that is unobtrusive.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a shock absorber for a faceguard that is adaptable to a wide variety of applications.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a headgear that provides a protected mounting location for mounting a shock absorber for a faceguard.

These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent from the description below and the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of the headgear according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a right side view of the headgear according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a front isometric view of the headgear according to the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a rear isometric view of the headgear according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top isometric view of the headgear according to the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the headgear according to the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the headgear according to the present invention.

FIG. 8 is an isometric view of the shock absorber according to the present invention.

FIG. 9 is an exploded view of the shock absorber according to the present invention.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1-9, the present invention is directed to a shock absorber 100 and headgear 200 that employs a shock absorber such as, for example, the shock absorber 100. The headgear 200 includes a faceguard 202 and a head-engaging member 204. The shock absorber 100 supports the protective faceguard 202 relative to the head-engaging member 204. The shock absorber 100 includes a support structure 102, a guide rod 122 or 132, a sliding member 142, and a resilient member 152. The support structure 102 is adapted for rigid attachment to either the head-engaging member 204 or the faceguard 202. The guide rod 122 or 132 is supported by the support structure 102 in a fixed position relative to the support structure 102. The guide rod 122, 132 has first and second end portions, a length, and a longitudinal axis. The guide rod 122, 132 is supported by the support structure 102 near the end portions of the guide rod. The sliding member 142 is guided by the guide rod 122, 132 for rectilinear movement in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the guide rod. The movement of the sliding member 142 is confined between the ends of the guide rod 122, 132. The sliding member 142 is adapted for rigid attachment to either the head-engaging member 204 or the faceguard 202 depending upon which of these is the one to which the support structure is attached. The resilient member 152 acts on the sliding member 142 to bias the sliding member toward one end of the guide rod 122, 132. In the illustrated example, the resilient member is a coil spring 154 or 156 that is provided on the guide rod 122, 132 between the sliding member 142 and the second end portion of the guide rod and biases the sliding member 142 toward the first end portion of the guide rod 122, 132. In the illustrated example, the support structure 102 is attached to the head-engaging member 204 and the sliding member is attached to the faceguard 202. When an object impacts the faceguard 202, the sliding member 142 is pushed from one end of the guide rod 122, 132 toward the other end resulting in the compression of the coil spring 154, 156. Thus, the resilient member 152, in this case the coil spring 154, 156, can absorb at least a portion of the impact energy of the object and cushion the blow to the faceguard 202. The movement of the sliding member 142 is limited to a portion of the length of the guide rod 122, 132. The movement of the sliding member 142 is limited to rectilinear motion in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the guide rod 122, 132.

The headgear 200 of the present invention includes a head-engaging portion 204 and a faceguard 202. The head-engaging portion 204 is made of first and second substantially enclosed frames 206 and 208, respectively. The first frame 206 is larger than the second frame 208 and is designed to surround the wearer's face. The first frame 206 is the closest to the wearer's face. The second frame 208 surrounds the wearer's face and appears roughly concentric with the first frame 206 when viewed from the front in relation to the wearer's face. The second frame 208 is spaced apart from the first frame 206 such that it is farther from the wearer's face as compared to the first frame. The second frame 208 is connected to the first frame 206 by pairs of L-shaped bars 210. Each pair of L-shaped bars 210 supports a shock absorber 100 in a protected location between the first and second frames of the head-engaging portion 204. The faceguard 202 includes a substantially enclosed frame 212 that surrounds the wearer's face when viewed from the front in relation to the wearer's face. The frame 212 of the faceguard 202 is larger than the second frame 208 of the head-engaging portion 204 and envelops the second frame 208 of the head-engaging portion 204 when viewed from the front in relation to the wearer's face. The faceguard 202 includes a first plurality of bars 214 that are substantially parallel to the sagittal plane of the wearer's body and a second plurality of bars 216 that are parallel to the transverse plane of the wearer's body. These pluralities of bars 214, 216 are attached to the frame 212 of the faceguard 202 such that they are positioned in front of the wearer's face and can thus provide protection to the wearer's face. The pluralities of bars 214, 216 are positioned to provide complete protection to the entire frontal area of the wearer's head. The frame 212 of the faceguard 202 is attached to the plurality of shock absorbers 100.

In the illustrated embodiment, the support structure 102 of shock absorber 100 is rigidly attached to a corresponding pair of the L-shaped bars 210 while the sliding member 142 is rigidly attached to the frame 212 of the faceguard 202. The shock absorber 100 or the headgear 200 could be configured such that the sliding member 142 is attached to the head-engaging portion 204 and the support structure 102 of the shock absorber 100 is attached to the faceguard 202. Also, the attachments between the shock absorber 100 and the head-engaging portion 204 or the attachment between the shock absorber 100 and the faceguard 202 or both could be made flexible instead of rigid as long as the attachment means used is resilient and strong enough to withstand the punishment it would be expected to receive.

The sliding member 142 has an opening 144 through it and the guide rod 122 extends through the opening 144. The support structure 102 supports the guide rod 122 at the first end portion 124 of the guide rod 122 and at the second end portion 126 of the guide rod 122. The resilient member 152 can be a coil spring 154 that has a plurality of coils. The guide rod 122 extends through the plurality of coils of the coil spring 154. The coil spring 154 is positioned intermediate a portion of the sliding member 142 that surrounds the opening 144 and the second end portion 126 of the guide rod 122.

The coil spring 154 has a first end and a second end, and the first end of the coil spring 154 bears directly or indirectly against a portion of the sliding member 142 that surrounds the opening 144. The second end of the coil spring 154 bears directly or indirectly against a portion of the support structure 102 proximate the second end portion of the guide rod 122.

The sliding member 142 has at least one hole 148 for engagement by at least one sliding member fastener 150 to thereby rigidly attach the sliding member 142 to the faceguard 202.

The support structure 102 has means for engagement by at least one support structure fastener 162, 164 to thereby rigidly attach the support structure 102 to the head-engaging member 204. The support structure 102 is a bracket comprising a base plate 104, a first endplate 106, and a second endplate 108. The first endplate 106 has a hole 110, 112 for the first end portion 124, 134 of the guide rod 122, 132. The second endplate 108 has a hole 114, 116 for the second end portion 126, 136 of the guide rod 122, 132. A first lateral flange 118 is provided on a first side of the base plate 104, and a second lateral flange 120 is provided on a second side of the base plate 104. The first endplate 106 is provided proximate a first end 166 of the base plate 104, and the second endplate 108 is provided proximate a second end 168 of the base plate 104 opposite the first endplate 106. The first lateral flange 118 extends approximately laterally from the first side 170 of the base plate 104, and the second lateral flange 120 extends approximately laterally from the second side 172 of the base plate 104 in a direction approximately opposite that of the first lateral flange 118. Each of the first lateral flange 118 and the second lateral flange 120 has means for engagement by at least one support structure fastener 162, 164 to thereby rigidly attach the support structure 102 to the head-engaging member 204. Each of the first lateral flange 118 and the second lateral flange 120 has a hole 174, 176, respectively, for engagement by a respective support structure fastener 162, 164 to thereby rigidly attach the support structure 102 to the head-engaging member 204. The lateral flanges 118, 120 and the holes 174, 176 constitute the means for engagement by at least one support structure fastener 162, 164 to thereby rigidly attach the support structure 102 to the head-engaging member 204.

In the illustrated embodiment, the shock absorber 100 has two guide rods 122 and 132 and two coil springs 154 and 156. The first guide rod 122 has first and second end portions 124 and 126, a length, and a longitudinal axis. The second guide rod 132 extends in parallel to the first guide rod 122. The second guide rod 132 has first and second end portions 134 and 136, a length, and a longitudinal axis extending parallel to the longitudinal axis of the first guide rod 122.

Accordingly, the sliding member 142 has a first opening 144 and a second opening 146 that extend through the sliding member 142. The first guide rod 122 extends through the first opening 144 and the second guide rod 132 extends through the second opening 146. The support structure 102 supports the first guide rod 122 at the first end portion 124 of the first guide rod 122 and at the second end portion 126 of the first guide rod 122. The support structure 102 supports the second guide rod 132 at the first end portion 134 of the second guide rod 132 and at the second end portion 136 of the second guide rod 132.

The resilient member 152 includes the first coil spring 154 and the second coil spring 156. The first coil spring 154 has a plurality of coils 158 and the first guide rod 122 extends through the plurality of coils of the first spring 154. The second coil spring 156 has a plurality of coils 160 and the second guide rod 132 extends through the plurality of coils of the second spring 156. The first coil spring 154 is positioned intermediate a first portion of the sliding member 142 and the second end 126 of the first guide rod 122. The second coil spring 156 is positioned intermediate a second portion of the sliding member 142 and the second end 136 of the second guide rod 132.

The first coil spring 154 has a first end 155 and a second end 157. The first end 155 of the first coil spring 154 bears directly or indirectly against a first portion of the sliding member 142 and the second end 157 of the first coil spring 154 bears directly or indirectly against a first portion of the support structure 102 proximate the second end 126 of the first guide rod 122. In the illustrated example, the second end 157 of the first coil spring 154 bears directly against the support structure 102, specifically the second endplate 108. The first end 155 of the first coil spring 154 bears indirectly against the sliding member 142. However, the spring 154 may bear directly or indirectly against either of those parts while the shock absorber remains within the scope of the appended claims. For example, one or more washers may be provided between the second end 157 of spring 154 and the second endplate 108 to prevent the spring from marring the endplate, or the first end 155 of the spring 154 may directly contact the sliding member 142 with the shock absorber still remaining functional.

The second coil spring 156 has a first end 159 and a second end 161. The first end 159 of the second coil spring 156 bears directly or indirectly against a second portion of the sliding member 142 and the second end 161 of the second coil spring 156 bears directly or indirectly against a second portion of the support structure 102 proximate the second end 136 of the second guide rod 132. In the illustrated example, the second end 161 of the second coil spring 156 bears directly against the support structure 102, specifically the second endplate 108. The first end 159 of the second coil spring 156 bears indirectly against the sliding member 142. However, the spring 156 may bear directly or indirectly against either of those parts while the shock absorber remains within the scope of the appended claims. For example, one or more washers may be provided between the second end 161 of spring 156 and the second endplate 108 to prevent the spring from marring the endplate, or the first end 159 of the spring 156 may directly contact the sliding member 142 with the shock absorber still remaining functional.

In the illustrated embodiment, the first endplate 106 has a first hole 110 for the first end portion 124 of the first guide rod 122 and a second hole 112 for the first end portion 134 of the second guide rod 132. The second endplate 108 has a first hole 114 for the second end portion 126 of the first guide rod 122 and a second hole 116 for the second end portion 136 of the second guide rod 132. The hole 110 is in registry with the hole 114 and the hole 112 is in registry with the hole 116.

The guide rod 122 has a first diameter and a second diameter. The second diameter is smaller than the first diameter. The second end portion 126 of the guide rod 122 is in large part of the first diameter. The first end portion 124 and the portion of the guide rod 122 extending between the first end portion 124 and a location proximate the second end portion 126 are essentially of the second diameter. This arrangement forms an annular step or shoulder 123 proximate the second end portion 126 of the first end guide rod 122. The portion of the rod 122 extending from the shoulder 123 to the second end portion 126 is of the first diameter. The terminal portion of the first end portion 124 of the guide rod 122 extends through the hole 110 in the endplate 106. An annular groove 125 is provided on the terminal portion of the first end portion 124 of the guide rod 122 on the side of the endplate 106 opposite the side of the endplate 106 that faces the sliding member 142. An E-clip or retaining ring 127 is positioned in engagement with the groove 125. In the illustrated embodiment, the guide rod 122 is provided with an annular flange 129 at the terminus of the second end portion 126 that cooperates with the clip 127 to secure the guide rod 122 to the support structure 102. The hole 114 in endplate 108 is sized to provide clearance for the first diameter of the guide rod 122 while providing a bearing surface for the second end portion 126 of the guide rod 122. The hole 110 has a diameter smaller than the first diameter of the guide rod 122 and is sized to provide clearance for the terminal portion of the first end portion 124 of the guide rod 122 that has the second diameter.

The guide rod 132 has a first diameter and a second diameter. The second diameter is smaller than the first diameter. The second end portion 136 is in large part of the first diameter. The first end portion 134 and the portion of the guide rod 132 extending between the first end portion 134 and a location proximate the second end portion 136 are of the second diameter. This arrangement forms an annular step or shoulder 133 proximate the second end portion 136. The portion of the rod 132 extending from the shoulder 133 to the second end portion 136 is of the first diameter. The terminal portion of the first end portion 134 of the guide rod 132 extends through the hole 112 in the endplate 106. An annular groove 135 is provided on the terminal portion of the first end portion 134 of the guide rod 132 on the side of the endplate 106 opposite the side of the endplate 106 that faces the sliding member 142. An E-clip or retaining ring 137 is positioned in engagement with the groove 135. In the illustrated embodiment, the guide rod 132 is provided with an annular flange 139 at the terminus of the second end portion 136 that cooperates with the clip 137 to secure the guide rod 132 to the support structure 102. The hole 116 in endplate 108 is sized to provide clearance for the first diameter of the guide rod 132 while providing a bearing surface for the second end portion 136 of the guide rod 132. The hole 112 has a diameter smaller than the first diameter of the guide rod 132 and is sized to provide clearance for the terminal portion of the first end portion 134 of the guide rod 132 that has the second diameter.

In the illustrated embodiment, the guide rod 122 and the guide rod 132 are identical. One or both of the guide rods 122 and 132 could be configured to provide a second shoulder or flange (not shown) near their second end portions 126, 136 such that the second ends 157 and 161 of the springs 154 and 156 bear against that second shoulder or flange rather than against the second endplate 108. Thus, the second ends 157 and 161 of the springs 154 and 156 may bear indirectly against the support structure 102.

In the illustrated embodiment, a plurality of tabs 218 are provided on the frame 212 of the faceguard 202. Each of the tabs 218 has a hole 220 that is engaged by a respective fastener 150 to secure the sliding member 142 of a respective shock absorber 100 to the faceguard 202. The first plurality of bars 214 may also be attached to one or more of the second plurality of bars 216. It is also possible to make the tabs 218 integral with the sliding member 142, while using a fastener 150 to secure the sliding member 142 to the frame 212 or any of the pluralities of bars 214, 216. The head-engaging member 204 is provided with padding (not shown) for engagement with the wearer's head.

In the illustrated embodiment, first and second tubular sleeves 219 and 222 are provided at the openings 144 and 146, respectively, to give a greater bearing surface between the sliding member 142 and the guide rods 122 and 132 so as to reduce tilting of the sliding member relative to the guide rods, thus reducing the possibility of the sliding member 142 jamming on the guide rods. The first and second tubular sleeves 219 and 222 are in engagement with the openings 144 and 146, respectively. The first and second tubular sleeves 219 and 222 are identical to simplify manufacture. Each of the first and second tubular sleeves 219 and 222 has a first portion 224, 226, respectively, and a second portion 228, 230, respectively. Each of the first and second tubular sleeves 219 and 222 has an annular flange 232, 234, respectively, located intermediate its first portion 224, 226 and its second portion 228, 230. The guide rod 122 extends through the first sleeve 219, and the guide rod 132 extends through the second sleeve 222.

The first portion 224 of the first sleeve 219 fits into the opening 144 of the sliding member 142 with the flange 232 of the sleeve 219 abutting the sliding member 142. The second portion 228 of the first sleeve 219 fits into the space between the coils of the spring 154 and the portion of the guide rod 122 that is of the second diameter. The first end 155 of the coil spring engages the flange 232 of the sleeve 219 to bias the sliding member 142 toward the first end portion 124 of the guide rod 122. Thus, the spring 154 indirectly bears against the sliding member 142.

The first portion 226 of the second sleeve 222 fits into the opening 146 of the sliding member 142 with the flange 234 of the sleeve 222 abutting the sliding member 142. The second portion 230 of the second sleeve 222 fits into the space between the coils of the spring 156 and the portion of the guide rod 132 that is of the second diameter. The first end 159 of the coil spring 156 engages the flange 234 of the sleeve 222 to bias the sliding member 142 toward the first end portion 134 of the guide rod 132. Thus, the spring 156 indirectly bears against the sliding member 142.

The illustrated headgear is particularly suited for use by a baseball catcher or umpire. In use, the headgear 200 is secured to the wearer's head using straps (not shown) or the like in the conventional manner. Padding (not shown) is provided between the wearer's head and the head-engaging portion 204. The padding and straps must be applied in such a way so as to not interfere with the relative movement between the head-engaging portion 204 and the faceguard 202. Normally, the springs 154, 156 of the shock absorber 100 will bias the sliding member 142 into contact with the first endplate 106. When an object impacts the faceguard 202, the sliding member 142 is pushed toward the endplate 108, which causes the springs 154, 156 to be compressed between the sliding member 142 and the endplate 108. Thus, the springs 154, 156 absorb at least a portion of the impact energy of the object rather than transmitting it to the wearer's head.

It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.





 
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