US 3514784 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 1970 R. RM DAVID- 3,514,784
PROTECTIVE FOOTBALL APPARATUS Filed Feb. I 7. 1969 FIG. .4
IN VENTOR. 190552 T F? M DAV/.0,
United States Patent I 3,514,784 PROTECTIVE FOOTBALL APPARATUS Robert F. McDavid, 1438 S. 6th St., Terre ,Haute, Ind. 47809 Filed Feb. 7, 1969, Ser. No. 797,599 Int. Cl. A4111 13/00 US. Cl. 2-2 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Apparatus for connection on the shoulder harness of a football player for extension and confrontation of the cervical spine to brace and prevent injuries to the cervical spine and head from whiplash.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of invention This invention pertains to the general field of orthopedic supports and, more specifically, to an attachment for a conventional shoulder harness used in body contact games such as, for example, football games. The attachment is designed for engagement with a wearers body in the area of the cervical spine and head to prevent whiplash injuries thereto.
Description of the prior art The prior art is replete with disclosures relating to protective devices designed to prevent injury to many portions of the body of a participant in a body contact game, but little effort has been made to provide protecting means in particular areas of the body which are more susceptible to injury than others, such as the head and the neck areas.
It stands admitted that considerable success has been achieved in protecting the head and shoulders of a player of a body contact game such as football, these being the consequence of specifically designed helments and shoulder harnesses. But despite these improvements, grave head injuries occur all too frequently, and the area of the neck still remains one of the primary sources of injury incurred by those who engage in body contact games.
Forces applied during the playing of a game of football are various and may be applied to the body of the player from any and all directions. As a consequence, the players neck is therefore subjected to numerous stresses including compression, flexing, extension, bending, torsion and the like. Not the least of these constitutes injuries resulting from what is commonly known as whiplash wherein the neck and head are unrestrainedly and suddenly jerked rearwardly or to either side of the body. Such injuries may be fatal or manifest themselves in other forms of permanent or temporary injuries such as headaches, paralysis, neck stiffness and the like. It should here be noted that the engagement or contact of the chin on the chest normally prevents grave whiplash in a forward direction.
The prior art has taken cognizance of the problem of providing effective protection for the cervical spine, and one such known protective device is disclosed in the US. Pat. No. 3,189,917. This protective device, like many of its predecessors, comprises a neck engaging collar which completely encircles the neck. The collar is generally relatively short in height and in actual practice may serve to increase the incidence of cervical spine and head injuries due to a whiplash condition by acting as a Wedge or fulcrum which actually shortens the radius of movement thereby increasing the terminal speed and the degree of whiplash.
3,514,784 Patented June 2, 1970 'ice One of the primary objects of this invention is to provide a guard for attachment to the shoulder harness of a football player and which prevents injuries to the neck substantially the entire cervical spine and head to prevent injury thereto as a consequence of whiplash.
Another object of this invention is to provide a protective guard for connection to the shoulder harness of a football player and which prevents injuries to the neck and head while providing the player with the required degree of freedom of movement of the players neck and head.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a neck protective device in the nature of an attachment for conventional and existing football players shoulder harnesses and wherein the protective device is lightweight,
SPECIFICATION In the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a cervo-lash guard constructed according to this invention, FIG. 1 showing the guard as being secured on the harness of a football played, a conventional football helmet being illustrated in phantom lines;
FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view of the guard and helmet shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the guard and helmet shown in FIGS. 1 and 2; and
FIG. 4 is an exploded front elevational view of the guard shown in FIG. 1, FIG. 4 illustrating the two-piece construction of the guard.
Referring now more specifically to the drawing, reference numeral 10 designates, in general, a cervo-lash guard constructed in accordance with the teachings of this invention and specifically designed to prevent whiplash injuries to the cervical spine and head when the guard is connected with the shoulder harness of players engaged in contact games. The guard 10 may be made from any suitable plastic or of a light metal such as aluminum or magnesium. It also may be constructed of a light-metal wire, if desired.
The guard 10 is seen to comprise two main sections 12, 14 which are of identical construction with the exception of being reversed left to right. Thus, corresponding elements will bear the same identifying reference numerals except that those of the main section 14 will carry a prime mark for the purpose of differentiation.
In turning specifically to a consideration of the several figures of the drawing, each of the main sections 12, 14 is seen to comprise a normally upright back panel 16, 16 which is substantially rectangular in configuration (see FIG. 2). Each of the panels 16, 16' is concave-convex about normally upright axes which depart from the vertical at an acute angle. The panels 16, 16 have longitudinally extending edges 18, 18' which (see FIGS. 2 and 4) are adapted to be brought into laterally spaced, parallel and con-fronting juxtaposition, and the adjacent marginal edges thereof are fitted with conventional cooperating hinge means 20, 20 secured by the usual hinge pins 21.
3 This hinged connection enables the back panels 16, 16 and other components of the guard connected thereto to be pivoted towards and away from one another to facilitate the placement and removal of the guard on the body of the user.
The panels 16, 16 have their respective concave sides disposed in laterally spaced and confronting relationship relative to one another, and at their respective upper ends, and at that side of each back panel oppositely disposed with respect to the longitudinally extending side edges 18, 18', the back panels 16, 16 continue into laterally projecting concave-convex bight portions 22, 22'. As is seen in the several figures of the drawings, the bight portions 22, 22' extend forwardly of the back panel 16, 16, and the concave sides of the bights 22, 22' confront one another. The bight portions 22, 22' are substantially upright and are formed around axes inclined at an angle from the vertical.
The forward ends of the bight portions 22, 22 are integrally connected with one of the ends of a pair of substantially oval shaped forwardly and downwardly projecting breast connector plates 24, 24. As is seen in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, the breast connector plates 24, 24" project downwardly and inwardly towards one another and also are concave-convex with the concave sides thereof confronting lower portions of the back panels 16, 16', respectively.
The lower ends of the breast connector plates have arcuately shaped edges 26, 26' which, at one of their ends, continue in a rearwardly and upwardly curved side edges 28, 28'. The upper ends of the side edges 28, 28' meet and are continuous with the lower ends of upwardly and inwardly extending arcuate end edges 30, 30' which are oppositely disposed with respect to the end edges 26, 26, respectively. The upper ends of the end edges 30, 30' continue into the downwardly opening arcuately shaped edges 32, 32' which define the lower ends of the bights 22, 22', respectively. The other ends of the edges 32, 32' merge with the upwardly extending longitudinal side edges 34, 34' of the back panels 16, 16' and 'which are oppositely disposed with respect to the longitudinally extending side edges 18, 18' thereof.
The lower ends of the breast connector plates 24, 24' in areas immediately adjacent the end edges 26, 26' are substantially coplanar, but as is seen in FIGS. 1 and 4, and tracing from the other ends of the end edges 26, 26, the other longitudinally extending edges 36, 36' of the breast connector plates 24, 24 and adjacent portions of the connector plates 24, 24' begin to rise to merge with the concave edges 38, 38' disposed at the forward ends of the bight portions 22. These edges 38, 38 intersect the plane of the upper end edges 40, 40' of the bight portions 22, 22, respectively, and these upper end edges 40, 40' are coplanar with the upper end edges 42, 42' of the back panels 16, 16'. As is seen in FIG. 3, the end edges 40, 42 are disposed in a common plane which is downwardly and forwardly inclined.
The back panels 16, 16' are formed with a plurality of transversely extending openings 44, 44' and the breast connector plates 24, 24' are provided with a plurality of similar transversely extending openings 46, 46'.
With the guard constructed in the manner described above, the guard may be permanently or releasably secured on a football players shoulder harness here generally indicated by reference numeral 50. The shoulder harness 50 is of conventional construction and is usually formed of relatively heavy padded material and includes the pair of side-by-side breast pads 52, 52' which, at their upper ends, continue into shoulder pads 54, 54', respectively, and the latter are integral with depending back pads 56, 56'. Conventional fastening means such as screws or rivets 58, for example, eytend through the openings 44, 44 to connect the back panels 16, 16' to the back pads 56, 56' with the hinge pins 21 extending substantially parallel to the back center line 60 of the harness 50. The lower 4 edges 32, 32' are fitted over the shoulder pads 54, 54 of the harness 50 in such a manner that the breast connector plates 24, 24' project forwardly and downwardly over the breast pads 52, 52', and conventional fastening means, such as screws or rivets 60 are employed to connect the breast connector plates 24, 24' to the breast pads 52, 52'.
To prevent the lower ends of the breast connector plates 24, 24' from moving away from one another, a substantially rectangular tie-plate 62 is provided, the tie-plate 62 having a pair of its opposed ends connected therewith and to the underlying breast pads 52, 52' by the conventional fastening means 60.
From the foregoing description of the guard 10, and with specific reference to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, it will be understood that the back panels 16, 16' and the bight portions 22, 22' are of suflicient length to extend upwardly to cover the cervical spine and the lower region of the head and neck of the user and which is usually encompassed by the lower ends of a conventional helmet here identified by the reference numeral 100, and to thereby prevent whip-lash injuries to the user. The guard constructed in accordance with the teachings of this invention will permit free pivotal movement of the atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axis joints while preventing extension and lateral (left-right) flexion of the cervical spine. The edges 38, 38' are laterally spaced from one another a sufiicient distance to permit forward movement of the users head and neck therethrough, and further, that the position of the bights 22, 22' and of the breast connector plates 24, 24 are such as to provide the wearer of the guard 10 with complete freedom of arm movement.
The appended claims define the invention herein described and illustrated.
What is claimed is:
1. An attachment for the shoulder harness of football players and the like, said attachment comprising a protective guard of substantially rigid material for positioning over the cervical spine and lower head region and includmg a pair of normally upright elongated substantially rectangular back panels disposed and spaced in side-byside relationship;
hinge means connecting the adjacent sides of said back panels;
said back panels at their respective upper ends having integrally connected forwardly projecting bight portions, respectively, extending from their remotely disposed sides;
each of said bight portions at their forward end being integrally connected with a downwardly and forwardly extending breast connector plate, said breast connector plates being spaced from one another; and
means on said back panels and said breast connector plates to afford connection with said shoulder harness.
2. An attachment as defined in claim 1 wherein said back panels and said bight portions are concaveconvex and are positioned with their respective concave sides confronting one another.
3. An attachment as defined in claim 2 wherein said back panels terminate in end edges vertically spaced above the lower end edges of said breast connector plates; and
each breast connector plate has at least a portion thereof disposed in space confronting relationship relative to its adjacent back panel.
4. An attachment as defined in claim 3 wherein said back panels are of such length as to extend across the wearers cervical spine and lower head region, and said bight portions extend across the neck and opposed sides thereof, respectively.
5. An attachment as defined in claim 4 wherein said bight portions at their forward ends and the adjacent ends of said breast connector plates at each side of the attachment are laterally spaced from one another to provide for the free neck movement of the wearer therebetween.
6. An attachment as defined in claim 5 and a tie-plate extending between and connecting the lower ends of said breast connector plates.
7. An attachment as defined in claim 6 wherein said back plates are concave-convex about axes inclined from the vertical at an acute angle; and
said bight portions are also concave-convex about axes inclined from the vertical at an acute angle.
8. An attachment as defined in claim 7 wherein the lower ends of said breast connector plates are substantially coplanar, and said breast connector plates are formed with laterally spaced adjacent edges, and wherein portions of said breast connector plates adjacent to said edges extend away from the common plane of said lower ends for said integral connection with said bight portions.
9. An attachment as defined in claim 8 wherein the upper end edges of said back panels and said bight portions are disposed in a common plane.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,537,178 5/1925 Maynard 23 2,892,193 6/1959 Sowle 2-2 3,103,014 9/1963 Morgan 23 3,134,106 5/1964 Shaffer et al. 2-2. 3,189,917 6/1965 Sims 22 X FOREIGN PATENTS 80,393 8/1955 Netherlands.
ALFRED R. GUEST, Primary Examiner