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Publication numberUS3591863 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 13, 1971
Filing dateMay 19, 1969
Priority dateMay 19, 1969
Publication numberUS 3591863 A, US 3591863A, US-A-3591863, US3591863 A, US3591863A
InventorsHarry E Rickard
Original AssigneeHarry E Richard, Luzette O Sparin
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Helmet
US 3591863 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventor Harry E. Rickard Phoenix, Ariz. [21] Appl. No. 825,542 [22] Filed May 19, 1969 [45] Patented July 13, 1971 [73] Assignee Luzette 0. Sparin Los Angeles, Calif. a part interest [54] HELMET 7 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs.

[52] US. Cl 2/3 [51] lnt.Cl ....A63b 71/10 [50] Field otSearch 2/3 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,537,178 5/1925 Maynard 2/3 3,103,014 9/1963 Morgan.... 2/3 3,139,623 7/1964 Joseph 2/3 3,189,917 6/1965 Sims 2/3 3,314,077 4/l967 Marchello; 2/3 3,230,544 1/1966 Mager 2/3 Primary ExaminerAlfred R. Guest AttorneyGeorges A. Maxwell ABSTRACT: The combination of a safety helmet engageable over a wearers head, a chinstrap fixed to the helmet and engageable with the wearer's chin to maintain the helmet engaged over the wearers head, an elongate, vertically extending neck pad engageable with the back of the wearer's neck and shaped to conform to the wearers neck when the wearer's head is tipped and neck is flexed backwardly a predetermined extent and to provide support to the cervical portion of the wearer's spine and occipital portion of the wearers skull, and mounting means to secure the pad to the helmet and including a hanger fixed to and extending between the pad and the rear portion of the helmet and a pivot bearing carried by the rear portion of the helmet to occur rearward of the pad between the ends thereof and engageable with said pad when the head is tipped back and the lower rear portion of the helmet is moved downwardly and forwardly.

HELMET The instant invention has to do with the protection ofa person's neck and is more particularly concerned with neck and/or head supporting means related to protective helmets such as are worn by athletes, motorcyclists, race car drivers and the like, and which is such that neck injuries, such as whiplash injuries, are not likely to be sustained.

Throughout the sporting world, where head injuries are likely to be sustained by participants in particular games, such as football, or in particular events, such as automobile races, the use of protective head gear is required. Such head gear, commonly referred to as safety helmets, has become substantially standardized and consists of substantially semispherical; downwardly and forwardly opening shells of a suitable, rigid and durable material, such as a high impact plastic or fiberglass impregnable resin. The shells are provided with suitable padding about their interiors to occur between the head and the shell and to engage on and about the head. Such helmets are further provided with chin straps to releasably secure them in position on the wearers head and in some cases, such as in the case of football helmets, are provided with face guards of wire cagelike attachments to provide added protection for the wearer's face.

While such safety helmets are extremely effective in protecting a wearer's head against injury, they not only fail to protect the wearer against serious neck injuries, but, in fact, materially increase the possibility or likelihood of neck injuries. This is due to the fact that such helmets provide no proper support for the wearers neck and head, but are supported wholly by the head, through the neck, and serve to add increased weight, the mass inertia of which, when set in motion, must be overcome by the neck muscles of the wearer.

Further, in physical contact sports, such as football, the ordinary helmet provides a means which is easily and readily engageable by the hands of the wearer's opponents and by which the wearers head can, and frequently is, pulled, twisted and otherwise manipulated in such a way as to result in injury to the neck.

Still further, the lower rear edge portion of the ordinary helmet shell is subject to being urged into engagement with the back of the wearers neck and to cause serious neck injuries when the helmet is urged upwardly, rearwardly and thence downwardly about the wearers head and about the pivotal axis of the helmet established by the chinstrap thereof.

The safe tolerances for upward and rearward tipping and pivoting of a person's head, from a normal upright position where the chin is substantially horizontal, is represented by an elevation of the chin a distance of between 2 and 3 inches, 3 inches being considered maximum and possibly exceeding safe limits.

When the head is turned upwardly and rearwardly, the cervical portion of the spine, that is, the neck portion of the spine made up of the first seven articulatedly coupled vertebrae, yields and bows rearwardly and the normally rearwardly projecting occipital portion of the skull swings downwardly and forwardly relative to the said cervical portion. When the cervical portion bows rearwardly to its limits and its vertebrae stop and lock, all forces that are exerted onto and through the head and which tend to pivot it rearwardly are imposed upon the first or uppermost vertebrae and, if excessive, displace or damage the first vertebrae causing injury considerably more serious than a slight concussion or scalp laceration.

Attempts to improve helmets so as to reduce the possibility of neck injuries, such as referred to above have been made. Such attempts have involved the application of a thick neck pad arranged in fixed position within the lower rear portion of the helmet and adapted to occur below the occipital portion of the skull and to engage the back of the neck adjacent the upper two or three cervical vertebrae when the head is turned or tipped back to its limit. While such a neck pad is better than nothing, it tends to concentrate the forces sought to be controlled onto the upper portion of the cervical and to direct those forces upwardly and forwardly lifting the skull and stretching the cervical in such a manner as to subject the cervical vertebrae to easy displacement.

An object of my invention is to provide a neck-supporting pad engageable with the rear of a persons neck, which pad is substantially equal in longitudinal extent with the cervical of the spine, has a front or forwardly disposed surface which is curved to substantially the same curvature of the cervical when it is bowed rearwardly to a predetermined extent and which has an upper end to engage and support the occipital portion of the skull when the head is tipped back.

Another object of this invention is to provide novel mounting means for mounting my new neck-supporting pad to the lower rear portion of a conventional safety helmet.

Still further, it is an object of the present invention to provide mounting means for the pad which serve to pivotally support the pad intermediate its upper and lower ends and which serve to direct forces applied to the pad substantially radially of its curvature and halfway between its ends whereby the cervical is supported substantially uniformly throughout its vertical extent and is relieved of forces which would subject the cervical to damage.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a padmounting means of the general character referred to which includes hanger means to normally hang and support the pad for free-swinging and pivotal movement relative to the helmet whereby the pad will normally lightly rest on the back of the wearer's neck and when the wearers head and the helmet are turned forwardly and downwardly and so that the pad and mounting means therefor do not normally create an undesirable obstruction and are not moved excessively and into and out of engagement with the wearers head and neck as the wearer's head is turned back and forth.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide a pad of the character referred to wherein the neck-engaging pad is made of a soft and/or resilient material and is provided with a substantial, rigid rear carrier plate.

Finally, it is an object of the invention to provide a structure of the character referred to which is easy and economical to manufacture and install and a structure which is rugged, durable and highly effective and dependable in operation.

The foregoing and other objects and features of my invention will be fully understood from the following detailed description of typical preferred forms and applications of my invention, throughout which description reference is made to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a safety helmet with the neck pad means provided by the present invention related to it and showing it related to a wearers head;

FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. I showing the structure in another position;

FIG. 3 is a rear elevational view of the structure that I provide;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged detailed sectional view of a portion of the structure shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken substantially as indicated by line 5-5 on FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken substantially as indicated by line 6-6 on FIG. 4 of the drawings; and,

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 3 showing a modified carrying out of the invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 3 of the drawings, the neck pad P that I provide is adapted to be related to a safety helmet S engageable on the head H of a wearer W, to support the wearers neck N.

The safety helmet S is shown as including a substantially semispherical, downwardly and forwardly opening rigid shell established of plastic, or the like, and has a lower edge with a substantially horizontal, laterally or transversely extending, lower rear edge portion 10, which normally occurs in rearward spaced relationship from the occipital portion 11 of the wearers skull, lower side edge portions 12 which extend forwardly from the rear edge portion, thence upwardly and thence forwardly again at the opposite sides of the wearers head and a substantially horizontal, laterally or transversely extending lower front edge portion 13 between the forward ends of the side edge portions, on a plane spaced above the lower rear edge portion and spaced forwardly of the forehead 14 of the wearer.

The several portions of the lower edge are curved to extend substantially uniformly about the wearer's head and in practice are rounded or provided with beads 15 to eliminate the presence of any sharp and dangerous corners and the like.

The shell is substantially larger than the wearers head and occurs about the head in spaced relationship.

Within the shell, about the lower portion thereof, is an annular headband 16 of padding carried by the shell by suitable straps and adapted to fit snugly about the wearers head. Suitable head crown straps 17 are provided to engage the crown of the wearers head to fix vertical placement of the shell relative to the head.

In addition to the above, a crown pad 18 can be provided in the top of the shell.

Finally, the helmet is provided with a substantially U- shaped, flexible, downwardly and forwardly extending chinstrap 19 with ends fixed to the lower, forward portions of the sides of the shell and engageable under the wearers chin to maintain the helmet against displacement from the wearer's head.

The helmet construction illustrated in the drawings and described above, is only illustrative and typical of the general type of helmet construction with which the instant invention is concerned. In practice, the helmet can vary widely in details of construction without departing from the spirit of the present invention.

The neck pad P is a unitary structure and is carried by and cooperatively related to the helmet S by mounting means M.

The pad P is an elongate, vertically extending, substantially rectangular structure bowed or curved vertically to define a convex front surface 20, corresponding, generally, in longitudinal or vertical extent and in curvature with the back of the wearer's neck N, when the neck is bent back and the head is tipped up and back a predetermined distance.

It is to be noted that the vertical extent or length of the pad and the curvature thereof could be said to be the same as the cervical portion X of the wearers spine, however, this is not exactly correct, as the pad is somewhat shorter than the cervical and is curved about a shorter radius than the cervical. This is due to the fact that the rear surface of the neck engaged by the pad is spaced rearward of the cervical by a considerable amount of flesh and, when the neck is bent in the manner set forth above, establishes a tighter or smaller radius than the cervical itself. Accordingly, the pad is proportioned to shape and fit the back of the neck when curved backward to provide substantially full support to the cervical.

In the preferred carrying out of the invention and as illustrated, the pad has a soft, resilient body 21 of foam plastic, rubber or the like, a stiff, substantially rigid backplate 22 and a leather, plastic or knit fabricjacket or covering 23.

The mounting means M includes a central, downwardly and forwardly extending arm 25 depending downwardly and forwardly from the central portion of the lower rear edge portion 10 of the helmet shell and defining a horizontal, transversely extending pivot bearing 26, at its lower forward end occurring on a horizontal plane substantially midway between the upper and lower ends of the wearer's neck N and which normally pivotally engages the central portion of the rear side 27 of the pad P.

In practice, the arm 25 can be a separate part fixed to the helmet, as shown in FIGS. 1 through 6 of the drawings, or can be formed integrally on the helmet shell, as illustrated in FIG. 7 of the drawings.

ln FIGS. 1 through 6 of the drawings, the upper end of the arm 25 is provided with a U-shaped saddlelike portion 28 engaged about the lower edge portion of the helmet shell and fixed thereto by suitable fastening means 29, such as rivets,

screw fasteners or snap fasteners, as desired or as circumstances require.

ln addition to the above, the means M includes hanger means 30 for supporting and carrying the pad P in predetermined vertical position relative to the helmet and the wearers neck and which maintains the pad in proper position relative to the pivot bearing 26 on the arm 25.

The hanger means 30 includes an elongate flexible strap 31 with an upper end fixed to the rear portion of the helmet shell, above the arm 25 and a lower end fixed to the rear of the pad P, between its upper and lower ends and preferably immediately above the point or line along which the pivot bearing engages the pad and so that it will not adversely affect the pivoting of the pad on or relative to said pivot hearing In practice, the upper end of the strap 31 can be fixed to the helmet by the fastening means 29, or, as in the form of the invention shown in FIG. 7, by separate fastening means 29'. The lower end of the strap 31 is fixed to the back plate 22 of the pad P by fastening means 32, such as rivets or snap fasteners.

With the structure set forth above, it will be apparent that the pad is supported for free-swinging and pivotal movement and such that it can and will fit and nestin the curvature of the back of the wearer's neck regardless and independently of the normal movement and position of the helmet. It will be further apparent that the pad is always in position for proper engagement against the wearer's neck and that upon tipping back of the wearer's head the pivot bearing 26 is moved forwardly into bearing engagement with the central portion of the pad and urges it snugly against the neck, providing the desired support.

The upper end of the pad, when the head is tipped back and the pad is held tight against the back of the neck, bears against and supports the occipital portion of the skull and stops further or excessive and damaging backward pivoting of the head. The force exerted downwardly through the pad, by the head, is distributed downwardly through the arched pad and distributed into and through the lower portion of the neck where it is most safely and satisfactorily spent.

Having described only typical preferred forms and applications of my invention, 1 do not wish to be limited or restricted to the specific details herein set forth, but wish to reserve to myself any modifications and/or variations that may appear to those skilled in the art and which fall within the scope of the following claims:

Having described my invention, lclaim:

1. In combination, a safety helmet engageable on and over a wearers head, a safety pau engageable with the back of the wearer's neck and mounting means pivotally connecting the helmet and the pad, said pad is shaped to conform to the back of the wearers neck when the wearers head is tipped back and the wearer's neck is flexed back a predetermined distance whereby the cervical portion of the wearers spine is supported and stopped against further backward flexing.

2. A structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said pad is shaped to stop against the occipital portion of the wearers skull when the wearers head is tipped back a predetermined distance whereby the occipital portion 'to the wearers head is supported and stopped against further backward tipping.

3. A structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said mounting means includes a pivot bearing carried by the helmet to occur in spaced relation rearward of the wearers neck and adapted to pivotally engage the pad when the wearers head is tipped back and the lower rear portion of the helmet is moved downwardly and forwardly.

4. A structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said pad is shaped to stop against the occipital portion of the wearers skull when the wearer's head is tipped back a predetermined distance whereby the occipital portion of the wearers head is supported and stopped against further backward tipping, said mounting means including a pivot bearing carried by the helmet to occur in spaced relationship rearward of the wearers neck and adapted to pivotally engage the pad when the wearers head is tipped back and the lower rear portion of the helmet is moved downwardly and forwardly.

5. A structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said mounting means includes a hanger extending between the rear portion of the helmet and the pad to suspend the pad from the helmet for free fore-and-aft swinging and pivoting relative to the helmet and a pivot bearing carried by the helmet to occur in spaced relationship rearward of the wearer's neck and adapted to pivotally engage the pad when the wearer's head is tipped back and the lower rear portion of the helmet is moved downwardly and forwardly.

6. A structure as set forth in claim I wherein said pad is shaped to stop against the occipital portion of the wearers skull when the wearers head is tipped back a predetermined distance whereby the occipital portion of the wearers head is supported and stopped against further backward tipping, said mounting means including a hanger extending between the rear portion of the helmet and the pad to suspend the pad wearers head is tipped back and the lower rear portion of the helmet is moved downwardly and forwardly.

7. A structure as set forth in claim 1 wherein said pad is shaped to stop against the occipital portion of the wearer's skull when the wearers head is tipped back a predetermined distance whereby the occipital portion of the wearers head is supported and stopped against further backward tipping, said mounting means including a hanger extending between the rear portion of the helmet and the pad to suspend the pad from the helmet for free fore-and-aft swinging and pivoting relative to the helmet and a pivot bearing carried by the helmet to occur in spaced relationship rearward of the wearers neck and adapted to pivotally engage the pad when the wearers head is tipped back and the lower rear portion of the helmet is moved downwardly and forwardly, said pad having a rigid backplate related to the mounting means and a soft yielding pad with a curved neck engaging front surface fixed to the plate.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
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US3852821 *Jun 11, 1973Dec 10, 1974L MickelImpact absorbent pad for helmet shell
US3860966 *Mar 19, 1973Jan 21, 1975Clarence Eugene BrownSafety helmet
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Classifications
U.S. Classification2/415, 2/421
International ClassificationA42B3/10, A42B3/04
Cooperative ClassificationA42B3/0473, A42B3/085
European ClassificationA42B3/04B8, A42B3/08B