US 3873996 A
An articulated head and neck protector apparatus for limiting extreme movements of the head and neck of a person wearing a helmet and a jacket. A ball is rotatably mounted in a socket which is supported by the jacket. The socket defines a pair of transverse slots. A track is provided on the back of the helmet for slidably supporting a tracker. One end of a control arm is attached to the tracker and the other end of the arm is attached through one of the slots to the ball. A pin extends from the ball through the other slot. The arm and the pin limit the turning and twisting of the head and neck to within safe limits.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Varteressian Apr. 1, 1975 1 1 ARTICULATED HEAD AND NECK PROTECTOR APPARATUS  Inventor: Levon Antoine Varteressian, 9018 Timberside Dr., Houston, Tex. 77025  Filed: July 5, 1974 21 Appl. No.: 486,139
 US. Cl 2/3 R  Int. Cl A42b l/08  Field of Search 2/2, 3 R
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,136,307 4/1915 Bourdon 2/2 3.189.917 6/1965 3.497.872 3/1970 3.591.863 7/1971 3,818,509 6/1974 Romo et a1. 2/3 R Primary E.\'aminerA1fred R. Guest Attorney, Agent, or FirmMichael P. Breston  ABSTRACT An articulated head and neck protector apparatus for limiting extreme movements of the head and neck of a person wearing a helmet and a jacket. A ball is rotatably mounted in a socket which is supported by the jacket. The socket defines a pair of transverse slots. A
track is provided on the back of the helmet for slid-- ably supporting a tracker. One end of a control arm is attached to the tracker and the other end of the arm is attached through one of the slots to the ball. A pin extends from the ball through the other slot. The arm and the pin limit the turning and twisting of the head and neck to within safe limits.
7 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures ARTICULATED HEAD AND NECK PROTECTOR APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION When a person voluntarily participates in or is likely to become exposed to events which may lead to violent shocks, it is prudent or it may be required for such a person to wear a helmet and a protective jacket. Examples of such persons are race car drivers and football players.
It is a main object of this invention to provide a head and neck protector apparatus which is adapted to be coupled between the back of the jacket and the back of the helmet for confining the movements of the head and neck, to within safe limits while allowing the head and neck to move within such limits with a minimum of interference by the apparatus, and within normal limits of the physiological and muscular excursions.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side view in elevation of the protector apparatus of the invention shown coupled between a jacket and a helmet;
FIG. 2 is a rear view of the protector apparatus of the invention;
FIG. 3 illustrates the extreme twisting position of the head in response to a blow to the helmet from the rear;
FIG. 4 illustrates the extreme twisting position of the head in response to a blow to the helmet from the front;
FIG. 5 is a view partly in section, taken on line 55 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on line 6-6 in FIG.
FIG. 7 is a side view of the socket taken on line 7-7 in FIG. 5;
FIG. 8 is a top view of the socket taken on line 8-8 in FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a modification of the tracker track assembly shown in FIG. 5;
FIG. 10 is a rear view taken on line 1010 in FIG. 9.
FIG. 11 shows a modified arm arrangement; and FIG. 12 is a sectional view on line 1212 in FIG. 11. To facilitate the understanding of the protector apparatus of the present invention, the same numerals will be used throughout the different views to designate the same or similar functional parts.
In FIGS. 1-4, a person 10 is shown wearing a helmet 12 and a suitable jacket 14 which may be provided with shoulder pads 16. The jacket has a heavily padded back 18 which defines an upwardly-extending stiff shoulder 19 for supporting a generally U-shaped bracket 19. The helmet is mostly of conventional design with inner straps, cushions, etc. In accordance with this invention, on the back of the helmet is provided, in a vertical plane of symmetry, a longitudinally extending track20.
A socket 22 is centrally mounted on and vertically extends from the bracket 19'. The socket has a spherical chamber 23 (FIG. 5) covered with a suitable, flexible lining 24. Chamber 23 is provided with a pair of transverse slots 25 and 26 (FIGS. 7 and 8). Slot 25 is an upper, horizontal slot and slot 26 is a rear, vertical slot. Slots 25 and 26 have walls 27, 28, respectively. The contour of each wall is selected depending on the constraints desired to be imposed on the movements of the persons head.
A ball 30 is rotatably mounted on the shockabsorbing lining 24 in chamber 23. To limit the twisting of the persons head in all directions from the normally erect position shown in FIG. 1, there is provided a control arm 32 whose length is sufficient to couple ball 30 to a tracker 34 positioned mid-way between the ends 35, 36 of track 20. Arm 32 preferably has a straight portion 32 attached to the ball 30 and an L-shaped portion 32" attached to tracker 34. The center 40 of ball 30 and the center 42 of the persons neck are in substantially parallel, vertical planes. Track 20 can be externally attached or welded to the back of the helmet 12, or it can be built into the wall of the helmet. To cushion the strikes of tracker 34 against the end walls 35, 36 of track 20, there are provided suitable shock absorbers 44 which can conveniently be made out of rubber.
To limit the turning of ball 30 and hence of the persons head, there is provided a horizontal pin 50 which outwardly extends from the vertical slot 26. Pin 50 is perpendicular to arm 32. Pin 50 is in the center of slot 26 when arm 32 is in the center of slot 25.
In operation of the relatively simple control apparatus thus far described, when a downward blow, represented by arrow 52 is directed against the rear of the helmet 12, the head will rotate in a vertical plane about pivot point 42 and arm 32 will rotate about axis 40 until it hits the forward wall portion of slot 25, as viewed in FIG. 8. Also the tracker 34 is moved into contact with the shock absorber cushion 44 at the end wall 36, therefore preventing any further downward movement of the head. When the arm 32 hits against wall portion 60 of slot 25, the rear pin 50 hits against the uppermost wall portion of rear slot 26 thereby acting as a sort of backup for arm 32.
Likewise when a blow, such as that represented by arrow 52, is directed against the front of helmet 12, the head is pivoted backwardly in the same plane heretofore mentioned until the arm 32 hits against rear wall portion 60 of slot 25 and rear pin 50 hits against the lowermost portion 65 of slot 26. The tracker is also brought into contact with shock absorber cushion 44 at the end wall 35 of track 20. This coordinated movement is represented by the angles a and a in FIG. 5.
The extreme left and right side tilting of the head will be limited by the abutment of arm 32 against the opposite side wall portions 61, 61' of slot 25. The contour of wall 27 of slot 25 can be shaped for each particular individual taking into consideration the position of his necks pivot point 42 relative to the protector apparatus. A simple contour for walls 27, 28 is an oval configuration having a major axis 62 and a minor axis 63.
As can be seen from FIGS. 6 and 7, the persons head and hence ball 30 can turn while arm 32 is in its center position. The rotation of the ball will be restrained by the abutment of pin 50 against the right and left wall portions 64, 64, respectively, of slot 26.
From the above illustrations, it will be readily apparent that the twisting and/or turning of the head in any direction will be limited by the combined restraining actions of the walls 27, 28 of slots 25, 26 against arm 32 and pin 50, respectively.
Obviously, many modifications in the design of the control apparatus of this invention are possible and will readily become apparent to those skilled in the art. It may be desired, for example, to allow helmet 12 to become detachable from tracker 34. This can be readily accomplished by making track 20 open ended and by providing bores 69, 69 for accepting a coaxially aligned cross-pin 70 having an eye 72 at one end and a groove 73 at the opposite end (FIGS. 9 and 10). Groove 73 will accept a pliable locking ring 74. In this embodiment, the bottom end wall of tracker 34 is provided with a bumper 75 which essentially serves the same function as the bumper 44 in FIG. 5. By removing pin 70, the helmet can be detached from the control arm 32.
Track can be provided with a plurality of longitudinally displaced bores 69 thereby allowing an adjustment in the length of track 20.
An adjustment in the length of the control arm 32 may also be provided by making the arm in two sections 87, 88 (FIG. 11) and coupling them together by a sleeve 90 secured by suitable screws 91. Sections 87, 88 can be made pivotablerelative to each other if desired. Various other modifications and adjustments are possible.
The protector apparatus of this invention will find a variety of applications in sports, military, industry, aviation, etc. Moreover, while the invention was illustrated for head and neck protection, it is not limited thereto. In general, it can be applied for the protection of any articulated joint with proper modifications for the geometry of the joint. Accordingly, I desire that my invention be limited only by the following claims:
What I claims is:
1. A head protector apparatus for limiting extreme movements of the head of a person wearing a helmet and a jacket, said apparatus comprising:
a. a socket fixedly supported by said jacket, a spheriably mounted in the track; d. a control arm, one end of the arm being attached to said ball through said first slot and the opposite end of the arm being attached to said tracker;
e. a pin extending outwardly from said ball through said second slot; and
f. the length of said track and the length of the wall of each slot being such that the persons head is free to move within prescribed safe limits.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said first slot is horizontally disposed and the contour of the horizontal slot is generally oval shaped.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said second slot is vertically disposed and the contour of the vertical slot is generally oval shaped.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said track is longitudinally disposed on said helmet.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the back of said jacket is provided with a bracket for fixedly supporting said socket.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said tracker has a generally rectangular configuration and said track has a pair of bumper guards at the extreme ends thereof.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said track has a removably mounted cross pin for limiting the downward movement of said tracker.