US 3900896 A
A rigid vertical member is secured to the base of the athlete's helmet and extends downwardly therefrom into a telescoping support secured to the shoulder pad and which allows rotation of the helmet and head of the athlete upon an axis substantially close to the neck and parallel to the axis of the neck, and limits flexion and extension of the neck, thereby protecting the neck from trauma.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 Ackerman 1 1 Aug. 26, 1975 1 1 NECK BRACE FOR ATHLETES  Inventor: Eugene J. Ackerman, 4819 S.
Packard Ave. Cudahy, Wis. 531 It) [22 Filed: Nov. 251974 21 Appl. No: 526,721
 U.S. Cl 2/2; 2/2; 2/3 R  Int. Cl." A410 13/00  Field of Search 2/2, 3 R
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5/1964 Shaffer ct a1. 2/2
31171974 6/1972 Sims A i 2/3 R 3,818,509 6/1974 Romo et a1. 2/3 R FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 627,567 6/1927 France 2/2 719,676 4/ 1 942 Germany 2/2 Primary liruminerAlfred R. Guest Attorney, Agent, or FirmAndrus, Sceales, Starke & Sawall  ABSTRACT A rigid vertical member is secured to the base of the athletes helmet and extends downwardly therefrom into a telescoping support secured to the shoulder pad and which allows rotation'of the helmet and head of the athlete upon an axis substantially close to the neck and parallel to the axis of the neck, and limits flexion and extension of the neck, thereby protecting the neck from trauma.
5 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures NECK BRACE FOR ATHLETES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a neck brace for athletes such as football players.
The general purpose is to protect the athlete from possible neck fractures or spinal cord injuries which may cause paralysis and even death.
I-leretofore devices for this general purpose have either failed to give the desired protection or they have greatly restricted the ability of the athlete to turn his head as needed particula ly in playing of football and other games.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION head.
For this purpose the lower end of the member preferably has a reduced section in cylindrical form and which extends freely down into a tubular recess in the bracket which in effect telescopes the member and permits the member to rotate upon the vertical axis of the telescoping parts.
Abutment means in the form of a shoulder at the upper end of the cylindrical portion is adapted to rest upon the bracket and prevent backlash.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective elevation of an athlete wearing a neck brace embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged top plan view of the head and adjacent shoulder pot ions of the athlete of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged detail vertical section showing the neck brace and adjacent portions of the helmet and the shoulder pad;
FIG. 4 is a section taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 3; and
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the brace.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the embodiment illustrated in the drawings, the neck brace 1 comprises a rigid member extending between and joining the helmet 2 and the shoulder pad 3 of the athlete 4.
The brace is preferably molded of acrylic plastic or any suitable lightweight metal or alloy, and consists of two portions: an upper portion 5 curved to fit an adjacent part of the helmet 2 and secured thereto as by rivets 6, and a lower portion 7 which is cylindrical and fits into a sleeve 8 constituting a part of a bracket 9 on the shoulder pad 3.
A flange or downwardly facing shoulder 10 is disposed at the upper end of cylindrical portion 7 and is adapted to rest upon the top of bracket 9.
The construction illustrated protects the neck of the athlete against direct forces generally resulting in backlash and lateral st esses, thereby reducing the possibility of neck fractures and spinal cord injuries.
The construction provides for free rotation of the helmet upon the vertical axis of the cylinder 7 and sleeve 8, and which axis is disposed near and generally parallel to the axis of the neck upon which the athlete tends to turn his head.
The length of cylinder 7 and sleeve 8 should be sufficient to accommodate a limited forward tilting of the head without endangering the desired rigidity of lateral support of the helmet 2 by brace 1.
Various modes of carrying out the invention are contemplated as being within the scope of the following claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which is regarded as the invention.
1. A neck brace for an athlete wearing a protective helmet and shoulder pads, comprising a rigid vertical member having its upper end fixed to the helmet and its lower end pivotally and extensibly supported by the shoulder pad to turn on a substantially vertial axis near the back of the neck of the athlete.
2. The neck brace of claim 1 in which the lower end portion is cylindrical to he telescoped by a sleeve secured to the shoulder pad of the athlete.
3. The neck brace of claim 1 in which abutment means between the brace and the shoulder pad prevents backlash of the neck of the athlete.
4. The neck brace of claim 3 in which said abutment means comprises a downwardly facing shoulder on the brace adapted to rest upon a portion of the shoulder neck.
5. The neck brace of claim 2 and a downwardly facing shoulder on the brace at the upper end of said cylindrical portion and adapted to rest upon the upper end of said sleeve to prevent backlash of the neck of the athlete.