|Publication number||US3046981 A|
|Publication date||Jul 31, 1962|
|Filing date||Apr 29, 1957|
|Priority date||Apr 29, 1957|
|Publication number||US 3046981 A, US 3046981A, US-A-3046981, US3046981 A, US3046981A|
|Inventors||Biggs Jr Ernest R, Lewis Hector E|
|Original Assignee||Surgical Appliance Ind|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Referenced by (99), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Jul 31, 1962 E. R. BIGGS, JR, ETAL 3,046,981
KNEE BRACE 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed April 29, 1957 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS.
ATTORNEYS July 31, 1962 E. R. BIGGS, JR, ETAL KNEE BRACE Filed April 29, 1957 3,046,981 KNEE BRACE Ernest R. Riggs, J12, Columbus, and Hector E. Lewis,
Cincinnati, Ohio, assignors to Surgical Appliance Industries, Inc, Cincinnati, Ohio, a corporation of Ohio Filed Apr. 29, 1957, Ser. No. 655,689 13 Claims. (Cl. 128-80) This invention relates to protective bandages and is particularly directed to an elastic knee brace adapted to prevent injuries to the knees of athletes and to protect previously injured knees against reinjury.
During the past twenty-five years and particularly within the last decade, substantial improvement has been made in the protective equipment provided for football players and other athletes. For example, plastic helmets utilizing newly developed foam padding and special strap suspensions have greatly increased the protection aiforded to the players head. Similarly, newly developed shoulder pads, hip pads, and thigh guards provide substantially increased protection to other areas of the players body.
However, up to the present time there has not been developed a removable brace for effectively protecting a players knees. As will readily be appreciated, an athletes knees are extremely prone to serious injury since the knee joint is not only a weak joint but is additionally a weight bearing joint. At the present time, it is conventional practice to protect an injured knee by applying a complex adhesive tape strapping to the knee. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly common practice, as a preventive measure, to tape the knee of every player prior to every practice as well as every game. For a large squad, this requires several skilled trainers and substantial amounts of tape material. It has been estimated that it costs approximately $3.00 per player every time his knees are taped; over a period of a season, this runs into several thousand dollars for a single football team. Furthermore, it requires a substantial amount of time for even a large number of trainers to properly tape an entire squad.
The principal object of the present invention is to provide a removable brace which is completely adjustable and can be applied by a player without any assistance, the brace being effective to provide a maximum amount of protection to the knee, both to prevent initial injury and to protect any previous injury.
More particularly, the present invention is predicated upon the concept of providing a unitary knee brace which is effective to apply to the knee joint supporting pressures at those locations most prone to injury, which locations are normally supported by tape applied in accordance with the best taping practices heretofore devised.
More particularly, a knee brace constructed in accordance with the present invention comprises a sleeve of elast c material which is placed over the knee joint and functions to apply a confining pressure to the joint and to support a plurality of straps adapted to support critical ligaments. In one embodiment, the sleeve is a continuous tubular member; while in a second embodiment, the sleeve is divided along an axial, or vertical line extending along the front of the players knee. The two adjacent edges of the sleeve are joined together along this line by a lacing which is initially adjusted by the player to provide the desired tension on the sleeve; this adjustment is not normally thereafter changed since the sleeve is sufliciently elastic to permit it to be removed and replaced.
Either type of sleeve carries two foam pads and three main straps. Two of these straps are attached to the lower portion of the sleeve and are wound helically around the rear of the knee joint, where the straps cross each other; the straps are then continued upwardly to an adjustable securement across the front upper portion of the sleeve.
The third, or lateral, strap is secured to the center rear portion of the sleeve and is preferably divided to cover both the medial and lateral aspect of the joint. Each end of this strap carries two upper and two lower angulated straps which respectively pass above the knee cap and below the knee cap and function to maintain pressure on the foam pads held over the body of the ligament and joint spaces by the sleeve.
Any tendency of the sleeve to shift from its correct position is minimized by the provision of a small central opening over the kneecap which facilitates normal motion of the kneecap and substantially reduces the forces on the elastic sleeve and straps. Additionally, the rear of the sleeve carries a stay member which helps to prevent the sleeve from bunching, or wrinkling, unduly without in any manner impairing the flexibility of the sleeve. This stay can be removed by a player if desired without impairing the basic functioning of the device.
In use, it is a simple matter for an athlete to slip the sleeve member over his foot and slide it into proper position with respect to his knee. Thereafter the laces, if the sleeve is of the lacing type, and various adjustable straps are tightened to the desired tension. The present brace can be completely adjusted in a short time without any assistance from a trainer or other personnel.
One of the principal advantages of the present brace is that it provides a firm, even support over the knee joint structures and joint space, which support can readily be duplicated each time the brace is applied. Consequently, the brace provides an athlete with maximum protection against initial injury to his knee, as well as maximum protection against reinjury to a hurt knee.
A further advantage of the present knee brace is that it provides great economy since it eliminates the need for trained personnel to bandage athletes knees, and also eliminates the substantial material cost for the tape itself.
Another advantage of the present invention is that the brace is extremely versatile. The same brace can be used on either knee; and furthermore, since the sleeve and its associated straps are adjustable, the same brace can be worn by many different players. Moreover, the brace can readily be adapted to suit the preferences of each individual athlete. Thus, if a player finds that he does not require a stay member, he can remove it. Similarly, if he does not care to use one or both of the pads, they can be removed Without impairing the support provided by the rest of the brace.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from a consideration of the following detailed description of the drawings illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is an elevational view of one preferred brace constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention, showing the straps in an outstretched disconnected position.
FIGURE 2 is a front elevational view 'of the brace as it would be applied to a players knee.
FIGURE 3 is a rear elevational view of the brace as it would be applied to a players knee.
FIGURE 4 is a partial perspective view of the front of the brace showing the straps disconnected.
FIGURE 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 55 of FIGURE 4.
FIGURE 6 is a semi-diagrammatic fragmentary view of one suitable form of spring stay incorporated in the brace.
FIGURE 7 is a cross sectional view taken along line 7 7 of FIGURE 3.
FIGURE 8 is a view similar to FIGURE 1 showing a second preferred form of brace; and
Patented July 31, 1%2
"where cartilage injuries most frequently occur.-
tion and substantially unelastic yarns running in the vertical direction. The fabric sheet-constituting sleeve 12 is not continuous but is divided at two adjacent vertical edges 13. The sheet is bound along these edges by leather pieces 14, best shown in FIGURES 2, 4 and 5. Midway between the upper and lower ends of the sleeve, the vertical edges have semi-circular cuts bound with semi-circular leather pieces 16 to provide a front opening 18. A plurality of spaced eyelets 20 are inserted in suitable apertures formed in the leather binding pieces 14- and sleeve material. These eyelets are adapted to receive lace-s 22 and 23 which are preferably slightly elastic, and respectively join the vertical edges of the fabric sleeve 12 above and below opening 18 to form a tubular brace member.
. Upper and lower leather tongues, or guards, 24 are stitched to one of the leather pieces 14 above and below opening '18. These tongues extend along the inner surface of the sleeve immediately behind the laces and funotion'to prevent the Wearers skin from being pinched when the bandage is tightly laced. These tongues also provide a continuous support surface over the area between the spaced vertical edges of the bandage.
Disposed on opposite sides of the front opening 18 are generally crescent or heart shaped pockets 26. These pockets are formed of an elastic material and are adapted to receive crescent shaped resilient foam pad members 28 (FIGURE A pad 28 is inserted in each pocket through a suitable mouth preferably disposed adjacent to central opening 18 and of a width substantially narrower than the width of the pad. Pads 28 maintain pressure over both lateral and medial joint. spaces Additionally, these pads function to absorb the force of blows directed at the sides of the knee joint.
The rear portion of sleeve 12 carries a fabric strip 30 which extends parallel to the axis of the sleeve and is stitched to the sleeve material in areas 3-1 and 32 adjacent to the upper and lower edges of the strip. The stitching also extends along opposite ends of strip 39 as at 33 to define two facing pockets 36 and 38. These pockets 36 and 33 receive a flat stay member40 which extends substantially the vertica-l'length of the sleeve. Stay member 40 functions to prevent undue bunching or wrinkling of the sleeve by keeping the upper and lower edges of the sleeve spaced at a predetermined distance. Stay member 40 can readily be flexed in any transverse direction but cannot be compressed longitudinally.
More particularly, stay member 46 comprises two fiattened' helical spring elements 41 and 42. These elements are, interleaved as shown in FIGURE 6, it being understood that the elements 41 and 42 are more closely compacted in practice than is indicated in FIGURE 6. Each end of the stay member is provided with a generally .U? shaped cap 43 which is channeled to receive the ends of the helical spring elements, the channel portions of the cap being compressed tightly against the'spring elements to hold them in an assembled relationship.
At the central portion of the sleeve, strip 30 is not stitched to the fabric sleeve forming a loop 44 adapted to receive diagonal bracing straps 45 and 46 which pass between the sleeve 12 and strip 30. This portion of the strip 30 also carries male portions of two snap fasteners 47, the cooperating female fastener elements being carried by lateral bracing strap 48.
. l 54). This cross member is preferably formed of oneway stretch fabric stretchable in generally a horizontal direction. A horizontal slit 51 extends across the central portion of cross member 5 which for convenience may be fabricated from two separate lengths of material. The slit 51 does not extend to the ends of cross member 543, the endwise portions of member 59 adjacent the slit being stitched at at 52 and 53.
Each end of main cross piece 50 carries angul-arly extending upper and lower elastic strips 54, 55 joined to strap 56 as by stitching indicated at 56. A length of webbing 57 is stitched or otherwise joined to the free end of each of the strips 54, 55. The lengths of webbing joined to strips 54 and 55 are adapted for respective engagement with buckles 58 and 60 carried by attaching straps 6162. Attaching straps 61 are constituted by lengths of webbing securedto the upper rear portion of v sleeve 12 and strip 30 by means of the stitching 31 deof tension.
scribed above. Attaching straps 62 are. also formed'of webbing, these straps being joinedto sleeve 12 and strip 36 adjacent to the lower rear edge of the sleeve by means mounted on the free end thereof which as explained be-;
low is adapted to cooperate with end 66 of attaching strap 61. In the same manner, strap 46 has a buckle 67 mounted on the free end thereof for cooperative engagement with end 63 of attaching strap 61.
While the exact dimensions of the straps employed are not critical, inthe preferred embodiment main cross strap .8 is made 4 wide, while diagonal straps 45 and 46 are 3" wide. Angulated straps 54 and 55 attached to main cross strap 56 are 2" wide, while the webbing 57 secured to the ends of these latter straps and used to form attaching straps 61, and 62 is 1 /2" wide. Sleeve 12 is approximately 11" in height. I
For purposes of conciseness in the following description of the manner'in which the brace is applied to an athletes leg, it will be assumed that the brace is being applied to the wearers right knee. It is to be understood, however, that the same brace may be applied to either the right or left leg. When a player applies'a brace to his knee, he first wraps diagonal straps 45 and 46 rearwardly around the front of sleeve 12 as shown in FIGURE 4, and crosses them beneath the loop 44 formed in strip 30 so that diagonal straps 45 and 46 pass between sleeve 12 and strap 3!).
.Lateral support strap 48 is then secured to strip 30 by bringing the female elements of snap fasteners 47 carried by cross strap 56 into engagement with the male elements of these snap fasteners secured to strip 30. It is to be understood that stay 40 has previously been inserted in pockets 36, 38 and extendsaxially along the outer rear surface of sleeve 12 beneath strip 36. Next, the player slides sleeve 12 over his leg until central opening .13 is brought into registry with the front of his kneecap. Thereafter, he tightens laces 22 and 23 until the sleeve 12 applies the desired amount of pressure over his knee joint area. Once this last adjustment has been made, the laces are normally not touched since the sleeve and laces are sufliciently elastic to permit the sleeve to be slipped on and oh over the players knee without loosening'the laces.
the front portion of the sleeve; while each of the attaching straps 66, 68 is wrapped around the rear portion of the sleeve and brought into contact with the buckle associated .with the oppositely facing diagonal strap, and these attaching straps are tightened to apply the desired amount Next, upper angular straps 54- of the main .ment.
'5 lateral strap 48 are wrapped around the front of sleeve 12 as shown in FIGURE 2, the straps being wrapped in .a generally helical fashion and crossing each other as indicated at 70 in FIGURE 2. Thereafter, the lengths of webbing secured to straps 54 are continued around the sides of the sleeve and attached to buckles 58 carried by attaching strap 61 closely adjacent to strip 3!). Finally, lower angular straps 55 are Wrapped around the front .part of the sleeve crossing each other at 71 shown in .leg, crossing the inner aspect of the knee joint covering the tibial attachment of the knee ligament. then crosses theback of the knee coming to the outer aspect of the knee joint, crossing the femoral attachment This strip of the lateral ligament. Similarly, diagonal strap 46 begins at the inner aspect of the lower leg and crosses to the outer aspect of the knee joint covering the fibula attachment of the lateral ligament. This strip crosses the back of the knee joint coming to the inner aspect and covering the femoral attachment of the medial ligament. Cross piece 50 of lateral support strap 48 disposed at the rear of the brace covers both the medial and lateral aspects of the knee joint to maintain pressure on the joint spaces. Straps 54 and 55 cross above and below the knee jointto provide a generally diamond configuration surrounding the knee cap thereby applying a controhable pressure on the resilient pads.
The front opening 18 in the forward portion of sleeve 12 facilitates normal motion of the knee cap and functions to minimize tensions on the basic elastic components of the brace preventing slipping of the brace. When properly adjusted, the brace is comfortable and provides a firm, even support over the entire knee joint.
A second preferred formof knee brace is "shown in FIGURES 8 and 9. The brace 72 shown in those figures functions in the same way to support and protect an athletes knee as the brace of the first described embodi several respects. In the first place, brace 72 includes a sleeve 73 which is continuous; specifically, the sleeve is a pads 76 in the same manner as the pockets of the first embodiment. It is to be understood that the straps have been omitted from FIGURE 9 to clarify the disclosure of sleeve 73.
Brace 72 also comprises a plurality of straps for ad- 'justably applying pressure to various areas of the knee joint. More specifically, the rear portion of sleeve 72 carries a vertically extending fabric strip 77 which is stitched to the sleeve as at 78 and 80. As in the first embodiment, the side edges of strip 77 are stitched as at 81 and 82 to form facing pockets 83 and 84 adapted to receive a flat stay member, such as member 40 shown in FIGURE 6. V
Fabric strip 77 carries a lateral bracing strap 85. This strap and the adjacent portion of strip 77 are not stitched to sleeve 73 so that a loop is formed beneath lateral bracing strap 85 for receiving diagonal bracing straps 8'6 and 87.
Lateral strap 85 includes a main cross strap portion 88 which is preferably formed of one-way stretch fabric in which the elastic threads run in a horizontal direction.
The ends of main cross strap portion 88 are divided to form angularly extending upper and lower straps 90 and 91. Each of the upper and lower straps 90 and 91 carries a length of webbing 92 which is stitched to the strap as at 93; The lengths of webbing carried by upper straps 90 are adapted for securance to buckles 94 carried by attaching straps 95. The lengths of webbing 92 carried by lower straps 91 are similarly attached to buckles 96 carried by attaching straps 97.
Attaching straps 95 are formed from lengths of webbing secured to the upper rear portion of the sleeve 73 by means of stitching 78. Attaching straps 97 are likewise formed of webbing, these straps being stitched adjacent to the lower end of the sleeve between the sleeve and strip 77 by means of stitching 80;
Knee brace 72 further includes two crossed diagonal straps 86 and 87 preferablyformed of a one-way stretch fabric. Strap 86 is secured to the lower rear portion of the sleeve and extends outwardly to the right in FIGURE 8. Similarly, diagonal strap 87 is secured to the lower rear portion of the sleeve and extends outwardly to the left in FIGURE 8. Each of these straps is wound in a helical manner around the front of the brace where the straps cross beneath the knee and is then brought around the rear of the sleeve and tucked beneath strip 77 where straps '86 and 87 cross as indicated at 98. Thereafter, when brace 72 is applied to a knee, diagonal straps 86 and 87 are wound further in a helical fashion around the front of the brace Where buckles 100 and 101 of these straps are attached for respective engagement with end portions 102 and 103 of attaching straps 95.
It will readily be appreciated that knee brace 72 is applied in generally the same manner as the first described knee brace. However, since sleeve 73 is not divided, it is unnecessary to make an initial adjustment of laces or the like.
However, brace 72 differs from the first brace in It has been found that in practice that either knee brace is particularly advantageous since the brace can be modified to suit the preferences of each individual player without impairing the protection afforded by the brace. Thus some players prefer to remove stay 40, while others like to remove one or both of the resilient pads, thereby relying solely upon the straps to apply pressure over the joint spaces. It has been found that these changes can be made forthe players comfort without appreciably affecting the protection given by the brace.
From the foregoing disclosure of the general principles of the present invention and the above detailed description of two preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art Will comprehend various modifications to which the invention is susceptible. For example, it is contemplated that sleeve 12 can be formed from a two-way stretch material in place of the one-way stretch material used in the embodiments described above. 1
Having described our invention, We claim:
1. A knee brace comprising a sleeve of flexible material for surrounding substantially the entire leg portion ,at the knee area, a lateral brace strap fixed intermediate its ends to the rear of said sleeve, said lateral brace strap having upper strap portions extending in opposite directions generally helically upwardly passing around the front of said brace above the kneecap and being connectable to the rear of said brace, said brace strap having lower strap portions extending in opposite directions generally helically downwardly passing around the front of said brace below the kneecap and means fixed to the rear of said sleeve for connecting the ends of said strap portions to the rear of said brace.
2. A knee brace comprising a sleeve of flexible material for surrounding substantially the entire leg portion at the knee area, said sleeve having an opening in the front portion thereof through which the kneecap will be exposed, a lateral brace strap fixed intermediate its ends to the rear of said sleeve, said brace strap having upper strap portions extending in opposite directions generally helically upwardly passing around the front of said brace above the kneecap and being connect-able to the rear of saidbrace, said brace strap having lower strap portions extending in opposite directions generally helically downwardly passing around the fi'ont'of said brace below the kneecap and means fixed to the rear of said sleeve for connecting the ends of said strap portions to the rear of said brace, and means carried by said sleeve at the rear portion thereof for preventing undue wrinkling of said portion.
3. A knee brace comprising a sleeve of resilient material being stretchable in a circumferential direction, the sleeve being adapted to surround the leg portion of the wearer at the knee area, means on said sleeve for selectively applying a circumferential tension to said sleeve, and a plurality of adjustable straps carried by said sleeve 1 and adapted to'be wrapped around the knee-joint for applying additional pressure to preselected areas of said joint, said plurality of straps'inclnding a lateral strap secured to said sleeve at the rear portion thereof, said lateral strap including a longitudinally divided cross-strap and upper and lower angulated straps extending outwardlyin diverging relationship from the ends of said crossstrap, means fixed, on said sleeve and operably engaging said upper and lower straps for adjustably securing said upper and lower straps respectively adjacent to the upper and lower edges of said sleeve, two diagonal straps adapted to cross in the rear of said brace, means for fixedly securing one end of each diagonal strap to said sleeve, and means for adjustably securing the opposite end of each of said diagonal straps to a remote portion of said sleeve.
4. A knee brace comprising a sleeve of flexible material for surrounding substantially the entire leg portion at the knee-area, two straps on each side of said sleeve adjacent the knee joint, said straps being wrapped around the knee in opposite directions with two straps above the kneecap and two straps below the kneecap, said straps adapted to overlie said knee'in a generally diamond shaped configuration which surrounds the kneecap, the lateral apices of said diamond shaped configuration adapted to overlie said sides of said knee joint, and means carried by said sleeve for securing the ends of said strapsto said sleeve.
5. A knee brace comprising a sleeve of flexible material for surrounding substantially the entire leg portion at the knee'area, a strap secured to said sleeve, said strap having two strap portions each of said strap porti ons being divided at an apex and including two angularly disposed end sections, said strap portions being adapted to being wrapped about the knee in opposite directions with the apex of one strap portion to be located on the inside surface of the knee, and the apex of the other strap portion on the outside surface of the knee, one section of each strap portion to pass above the knee joint and the other section below the knee joint, whereby said knee joint will be supported by strap portions of a generally diamond configuration, and means carried by said sleevefor securing the ends of said strap portions to said sleeve.
6. A knee brace comprising a sleeve for surrounding substantially the entire leg at the knee area, said sleeve having pockets formed therein disposed on opposite sides of said knee cap, a resilient foam pad of substantially uniform thickness inserted in each of said pockets, at least two angularly disposed strap portions carried by said sleeve at each side of the knee area and adapted to be wound in opposite directions about the wearers leg,
"said strap portions converging adjacent to the sides of the knee, whereby said strap portions are adapted to surround the knee cap area in a generally diamond shaped configuration, said strap portions overlying said pads and applying pressure thereto, and means carried by said sleeve for securing the ends of said strap portions to said sleeve.
7. A knee brace comprising a sleeve for surrounding substantially the entire leg portion at the knee area, a resilient pad carried by said sleeve and disposed at opposite sides of a kneecap, at least two angularly disposed straps carried by said sleeve at each side of said knee and adapted to be wound in opposite directions about the wearers leg, said straps converging adjacent to the sides of the knee and adapted to surround the kneecap area in a generally diamond shaped configuration and overlying said pads to apply pressure thereto, and means carried by said sleeve for securing the ends of said straps to said sleeve.
8. A knee brace comprising a sleeve for surrounding substantially the entire leg portion at the knee area, a resilient pad carried by said sleeve and disposed at opposite sides of a kneecap, at least two angularly disposed straps carried by said sleeve at each side of said knee and adapted to be wound in opposite directions about the wearers leg, said straps having elastic portions. converging adjacent to the sides of the knee and adapted to surround the kneecap area in a generally diamond shaped configuration, said straps overlying said pads and applying pressure thereto, and means carried by said sleeve 'for securing the ends of said straps to said sleeve.
9. A knee brace comprising a sleeve for surrounding substantially the entire leg portion at the knee area, a
resilient pad carried by said sleeve and disposed at opposite sides of a kneecap, two straps each secured at one end to said sleeve and adapted to be wound in opposite directions about the wearers'leg, each said strap being split into two diverging strap portions, thejunction of said strap portions being locatedadjacent to the sides of the knee with one strap portion passing above the knee and one strap portion passing below the knee, whereby said strap portions are adapted to surround'the kneecap area in a generally diamond shaped configuration, said straps overlying said pads and applying pressure thereto, and means carried by said sleeve for securing the ends of said strap portions to said sleeve- 10. A knee brace comprising a sleeve for surrounding substantially the entire leg portion at the knee area, said sleeve having an opening in the front portion thereof 7 through which the kneecap is exposed, a resilient pad carried by said sleeve and disposed at opposite sides of said opening, at least two angularly disposed straps carried by said sleeve at each side of said knee and adapted to be wound in opposite directions about the wearers leg, said straps converging adjacent to the sides of the knee,'said straps adapted to surround the kneecap area in a generally diamond shaped configuration and overlying said pads and applying pressure thereto, and
means carried by said sleeve for securing the ends of said straps to said sleeve. V
'11. A knee brace comprising a sleeve for surrounding substantially the entire leg portion at the knee area, two straps each secured at one end to said sleeve and adapted to be wound in opposite directions about the wearers leg, each said strap being split into two diverging strap portions, the junction of said strap portions be ing located adjacent to the'sides of the knee with one strap portion passing above the knee and one strap portion passing below the knee, whereby said strap portions are adapted to surround the kneecap area in a generally diamond shaped configuration, and means carried by said sleeve for securing the ends of said strap portions to said sleeve.
12. A knee brace comprising a sleeve for surrounding substantially the entire leg portion at the knee area, said sleeve having an opening in the "front thereof through which said kneecap will be exposed; a resilient pad carried by said sleeve and disposed at opposite sides of said opening, two straps each secured at one end to said sleeve ing strap portions, the junction of said strap portions being located adjacent to the sides of the knee with one strap portion passing above the knee and one strap portion passing below the knee, whereby said strap portions are adapted to surround the kneecap area in a generally diamond shaped configuration, said straps overlying said 5 pads and applying pressure thereto, and means carried by said sleeve for securing the ends of said strap portions to said sleeve.
13. A knee brace according to claim 12 in which at least that part of each said strap forming said diamond 10 shaped configuration is elastic.
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