US 20030167558 A1
A protective headpiece particularly adapted to the practice of paintball war games is designed to protect against the impact of paintballs arriving from all directions. The headpiece comprises a face mask with a central aperture shaped and dimensioned to accommodate a eye shield with top and lateral rearward projections and a nape piece adjustably and flexibly attached to the top projection so that it may be conveniently pulled back to facilitate installation of the head piece.
1. A headgear, for protecting a wearer against multi-directional impacts, which comprises:
a face mask having a central aperture positioned, shaped and dimensioned to accommodate an eye shield;
a pair of projections each extending laterally and rearwardly from said mask to cover the wearer's ears and neck side areas;
a cap section projecting rearwardly from an upper portion of said mask; and
a nape piece adjustably secured to said cap section and extending downwardly to cover the back of the wearer's head.
2. The headgear of
3. The headgear of
4. The headgear of
5. The headgear of
6. The headgear of
7. The headgear of
whereby said nape piece can be pulled away to facilitate placement of the headgear over the wearer's head.
8. The headgear of
9. The headgear of
10. The headgear of
means for slidingly securing said stem to said cap section.
 This invention relates to protective masks and helmets used in the practice of certain sporting activities, and more particularly, to activities that require shielding of the head against projectiles impinging from every direction.
 Most protective headgears used in the practice of racing sports including all types of vehicle races, equitation, polo etc . . . are designed to protect the user's head from impacts against the ground or other fixed obstacles. Some head and face protective devices such as the ones worn by baseball catchers, hockey goalies and fencers are engineered to avert the impact of moving objects coming at the wearer from a limited range of directions, typically frontal and lateral directions.
 A participant to a paintball war game must shield his or her head, face and neck against paintball impacts from multiple directions by means of a necessarily more encompassing a more complex type of protective cover. The scope of protection should be as broad as the one afforded by the type of headgears associated with medieval suits of armor, yet, contrary to such cumbersome devices, remain relatively light, easy to remove, and not unduly restrict the range of head rotation and the user's field of vision.
 All encompassing motorcycling or football forms of helmets are not appropriate due to the weight resulting from their hardness, their rigidity and heavy padding of the top of the head—features that are not required in a paintball game environment. All other conventional types of protective headgear do not adequately shield the neck and back of the head.
 The principal and secondary objects of this invention are to provide participants to paintball war game with a headgear that effectively protects the face, neck, side and back of the head area against paintball impacts impinging from various directions, without unduly burdening or confining the head, or restricting the field of vision.
 These and other valuable objects are achieved by means of a flexible shell made of thin plastic material, encompassing the face, side and top of the head, and a nape piece adjustably and flexibly attached to an upper part of the shell so that it may be conveniently pulled away to facilitate placement of the device over the user's head.
 A central aperture in the front of the shell, extending from the user's brow area to the base of the nose and from one temple area to the other, is covered by a transparent eye shield.
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the protective headgear according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view thereof; and
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the nape piece.
 Referring now to the drawing, there is shown a protective headgear 1 which, according to the invention, is designed to provide full range protection against flying objects, and particularly, paintballs used in the practice of war games. The headgear comprises a frontal portion or head mask 2 which is shaped and dimensioned to shield the face from the brow to the neck and from one temple area to another. A central aperture 3 is positioned, shaped and dimensioned to accommodate either goggles as shown in FIG. 1 or another type of eye shield such as the arcuate lens 5 illustrated in FIG. 2.
 From the brow area, the face mask extends rearwardly to form a cap section 6 shaped and dimensioned to cover the entire top of the wearer's head. From the chin and temple area, the mask extends rearwardly into lateral projections 7, 8 which are shaped and dimensioned to shield the cheeks, ears and sides of the neck.
 In the preferred embodiment of the invention illustrated in the drawing, the face mask, cap piece and lateral projections are integrally joined to one another. In practice, they are molded together into a thin and flexible shell of polypropylene or other equivalent plastic material.
 Various sets of ventilation or aeration holes 9, 10, 11 are provided throughout the headgear as well as a series of slots in the area of the ears. The back of the head is protected by a nape piece 13 molded of the same material as the rest of the headgear, but separately from it.
 The nape piece consists essentially of a spherical cap 14 having a stem 15 projecting from its upper edge. The stem 15 has an arcuate shape that matches the rotundity of the rear section 16 of the cap section 6. The stem is slidingly secured through two slots 17 in the cap section by a pair of screws 18 so that the nape piece 13 can be positioned and immobilized into a comfortable position corresponding to the geometry of the wearer's head. Due to the thinness and resilient flexibility of the stem 15, the nape piece can be conveniently pulled away as shown in shadow line in FIG. 1, to enlarge the bottom opening of the headgear and facilitate installation over the wearer's head. Due to the spherical shape of the nape piece, its lateral edges are overlapped by the rear edges 20 of the lateral projections to avoid any gap in the shielding of the head. Ventilation slots 21 are cut through the nape piece.
 While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been described, modifications can be made and other embodiments may be devised without departing from the spirit of the invention and the scope of the appended claims.