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US20130312152A1 - Two-way protective pad construction - Google Patents

Two-way protective pad construction Download PDF

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Publication number
US20130312152A1
US20130312152A1 US13827788 US201313827788A US2013312152A1 US 20130312152 A1 US20130312152 A1 US 20130312152A1 US 13827788 US13827788 US 13827788 US 201313827788 A US201313827788 A US 201313827788A US 2013312152 A1 US2013312152 A1 US 2013312152A1
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US
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
shell
gasket
pad
protective
surface
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US13827788
Inventor
Michel S. Paul
Olivier C. Jajko
Vincent Arpin
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Warrior Sports Inc
Original Assignee
Warrior Sports Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A41WEARING APPAREL
    • A41DOUTERWEAR; PROTECTIVE GARMENTS; ACCESSORIES
    • A41D13/00Professional, industrial, or sporting protective garments, e.g. garments affording protection against blows or punches, surgeon's gowns
    • A41D13/015Professional, industrial, or sporting protective garments, e.g. garments affording protection against blows or punches, surgeon's gowns with shock-absorbing means
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/08Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/08Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions
    • A63B71/12Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the body, e.g. shoulders, or the legs
    • A63B2071/1208Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the body, e.g. shoulders, or the legs for the breast and the abdomen, e.g. breast plates
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/08Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions
    • A63B71/12Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the body, e.g. shoulders, or the legs
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/08Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions
    • A63B71/12Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the body, e.g. shoulders, or the legs
    • A63B71/1225Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the body, e.g. shoulders, or the legs for the legs, e.g. thighs, knees, ankles, feet
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/08Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions
    • A63B71/12Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the body, e.g. shoulders, or the legs
    • A63B71/1291Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the body, e.g. shoulders, or the legs for the neck
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/08Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions
    • A63B71/14Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the hands, e.g. baseball, boxing or golfing gloves
    • A63B71/141Body-protectors for players or sportsmen, i.e. body-protecting accessories affording protection of body parts against blows or collisions for the hands, e.g. baseball, boxing or golfing gloves in the form of gloves

Abstract

A protective pad including a rigid shell bounded by a perimeter and a gasket engaging the perimeter so that forces applied to the shell are dissipated through the gasket before transferring to a wearer of the protective pad. The rigid shell cooperates with the gasket to provide a trampoline effect or two way spring. This effectively absorbs shock from forces generated by the opponent, so that the wearer and a colliding opponent both encounter reduced forces. The shell can bow outwardly to form a cavity above the wearer when the gasket is placed adjacent the wearer, which can prevent the rigid shell from bottoming out against the wearer upon impact. The protective pad can be implemented in a thumb protector including a stopper disposed between adjacent rigid shells covering proximal and distal portions of a digit. The stopper can engage the shells and effectively prevent hyperextension of the digit.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates to protective equipment that shields forces, which are exerted on a wearer, and more particularly, to a multi-layered padding construction that provides minimal bulk and impediment to movement, yet maximizes protective coverage and protection to both the wearer, and optionally another person impacting the protective equipment.
  • [0002]
    Protective padding is used to protect its wearer from injury or from experiencing an impact due to applied forces. The increased popularity of physical sports has increased the need for personal protective padding. Sporting activities, such as hockey, lacrosse, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, biking, motorcycling and other activities all can lead to falls, collisions and impacts, which can cause pain, injury and damage to unprotected parts of the body.
  • [0003]
    Conventional protective padding, however, uses “one-way” padding constructions. This means they are primarily designed to protect the wearer of the padding. During a collision or check, the pad makes contact with an external object, for example, an opponent, another player, the ice, the ground, boards or another object. The padding typically includes a layer of plastic sandwiched between and directly contacting layers of foam. The padding helps reduce pressure on the wearer by distributing the impact force over a large area. The two foam layers act as a cushion and provide comfort; however, they frequently attain their compression limit, bottoming out and doing little to attenuate further transferred impact forces.
  • [0004]
    This usually is not much of an issue because injuries are the result of pressure. Pressure is a specific amount of force over a given area. Therefore, as the contact area increases, the pressure decreases, and so does the risk of injury. For the wearer of the protective padding during a collision, the impact is spread over a large surface due to the plastic layer. The plastic layer alleviates pressure from the wearer, for example, their appendages or joints, by deflecting impact energy toward the edge of the plastic layer. The wearer may feel the pressure from the impact, but it typically is not enough to cause injury.
  • [0005]
    The reason the present protective padding described above works for the wearer, is the same reason that it is ineffective for protecting opponents or other players during collisions with the wearer of the protective padding. When dealing with impacts and the related forces, a relevant axiom is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Conventional protective padding is frequently implemented in shoulder pad or elbow pad caps. Typically, these caps are rounded in contour. Usually, the surface of the object with which the cap collides—be it another player, person or object—many times is flat or convex. Accordingly, the force exerted by the cap on that surface is concentrated at a single point, which is usually a small contact area on the surface of the other player or person impacting the wearer of the protection padding. The foam, as mentioned above, does not provide much cushioning between the wearer and the other player or person, particularly where the force exceeds the compressive strength and the foam bottoms out. With this reduced shock absorption, the player or person impacting or being impacted by the wearer of the protective padding usually experiences a great deal of pressure in a very localized area. As a result, that other player or person can be injured by the impact, even though the wearer of the protective padding is not injured.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    A protective pad is provided including a layered pad having a rigid protective shell joined with a base or gasket. The gasket, which optionally can be constructed from a high density compliant material, substantially surrounds and contacts the perimeter of the shell. The shell is elevated a distance above the base and/or the wearer, generally in a central region of the pad so that a cavity is formed therebetween. Forces generated from an impact with the pad and/or shell are transmitted primarily through the shell to the gasket, and from there to wearer's body. This can dissipate the impact forces, cushion the blow and absorb energy, thereby providing protection to the wearer, as well as the person or item impacting the wearer.
  • [0007]
    In one embodiment, the protective pad includes a rigid shell bounded by a perimeter and a gasket engaging the perimeter so that forces applied to the rigid shell are dissipated through the gasket. The rigid shell cooperates with the gasket to provide a trampoline effect or two way spring, which can protect both the wearer and the person or item impacting the wearer effectively absorbing the energy and/or dissipating the impact forces.
  • [0008]
    In another embodiment, the gasket can define an open gasket recess or ring, generally bounded by a boundary wall and a support shelf. The rigid shell perimeter can rest on the support shelf in the gasket recess. An outer edge of the rigid shell can be placed adjacent and/or abut the boundary wall.
  • [0009]
    In still another embodiment, the support shelf can be of a predetermined thickness and width to accommodate the perimeter and/or edge of the rigid shell, and effectively absorb shock generated by impacts to the rigid shell.
  • [0010]
    In yet another embodiment, the protective pad can include an inner layer, optionally constructed from low density foam. The inner layer can be configured to engage the wearer. The rigid shell can bow outwardly to form a cavity above the wearer, and generally between the shell and the inner layer, when the gasket is placed adjacent the wearer. The dimension of the cavity and distance from the inner layer and/or wearer can be preselected to prevent the rigid shell from bottoming out against the wearer upon impact.
  • [0011]
    In even another embodiment, the rigid shell and gasket, and optionally the inner layer, cooperate to ensure that impacts to the shell are spread over the entire surface of the shell, which in turn enables the shell to utilize more of the available gasket on the protective pad, thereby protecting both the wearer and an opponent engaging the wearer during the impact.
  • [0012]
    The protective pad herein is well suited for a variety of protective equipment, for example, shoulder pads, elbow pads, knee pads, shin guards, wrist pads, gloves, thumb protectors, digit protectors, leg pads, ankle pads and even body armor. Moreover, the protective pad described herein optionally can maintain pad weight in acceptable range, facilitate player movement, reduce the amount of plastic and shell size, increase impact time, and decrease impact pressure.
  • [0013]
    In a further embodiment the protective pad can be implemented in a thumb protector (which includes any protectors for the thumb and/or any digit) to both protect the wearer's digit from blows and to prevent hyperextension of the digit. In such a construction, the protective pad can include a proximal rigid shell and a distal rigid shell, separated by a gap. The shells can be further joined with a gasket assembly including a region of flexure. The region of flexure can be configured to overlap a joint of the user's digit.
  • [0014]
    In still a further embodiment, the thumb protector can include a separate and independent stopper disposed between the proximal and distal rigid shells. The stopper can be engaged by the respective proximal and distal rigid shells, thereby stopping movement relative to one another, and preventing hyperextension or overextension of a digit with which the protective pad is associated.
  • [0015]
    In still yet a further embodiment, the thumb protector protective pad can include a proximal rigid shell and a distal rigid shell, separated by a gap. The shells can be further joined with one or more gaskets. The shells and gaskets can be isolated or independent from one another, generally attached to a thumb or digit gusset, and independently moveable. The shells and gaskets can be configured to include the components of the other protective pads herein.
  • [0016]
    Before the embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the details of operation or to the details of construction and the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention may be implemented in various other embodiments and of being practiced or being carried out in alternative ways not expressly disclosed herein. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use of “including” and “comprising” and variations thereof is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items and equivalents thereof. Further, enumeration may be used in the description of various embodiments. Unless otherwise expressly stated, the use of enumeration should not be construed as limiting the invention to any specific order or number of components. Nor should the use of enumeration be construed as excluding from the scope of the invention any additional steps or components that might be combined with or into the enumerated steps or components.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0017]
    FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a shoulder pad system incorporating a current embodiment of a protective pad;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the shoulder pad system;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 3 is a close-up perspective view of the protective pad in the form of a shoulder pad cap;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 4 is a exploded perspective view of the protective pad;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 5 is another exploded view of the protective pad;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a liner or inner layer of the protective pad;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 7 is a section view of the protective pad;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 8 is a cross section view of an alternative embodiment of the protective pad;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 9 is an exterior side view of an elbow pad incorporating the protective pad;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 10 is an interior view of the elbow pad incorporating the protective pad of the current embodiment;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 11 is a bottom view of a rigid shell included in the elbow pad incorporating the protective pad;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 12 is a side view of the rigid shell included in the elbow pad incorporating the protective pad;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 13 is a side perspective view of the elbow pad including the protective pad joined with a wearer's appendage;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 14 is an exploded view of the elbow pad incorporating the protective pad;
  • [0031]
    FIG. 15 is another perspective exploded view of the elbow pad incorporating the protective pad;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 16 is a bottom view of the elbow pad incorporating the protective pad;
  • [0033]
    FIG. 17 is a sectional view of the elbow pad incorporating the protective pad taken along lines 17-17 of FIG. 16;
  • [0034]
    FIG. 18 is a table generally illustrating force versus impact duration;
  • [0035]
    FIG. 19 is a table illustrating force versus impact duration relative to no protection, a conventional shoulder cap, and a shoulder cap including a protective pad of the current embodiments;
  • [0036]
    FIG. 20 is a side view of a thumb protector incorporating the protective pad;
  • [0037]
    FIG. 21 is a top view of the thumb protector incorporating the protective pad;
  • [0038]
    FIG. 22 is an exploded view of the thumb protector incorporating the protective pad;
  • [0039]
    FIG. 23 is a section view of the thumb protector incorporating the protective pad taken along lines 23-23 of FIG. 21;
  • [0040]
    FIG. 24 is a section view illustrating the thumb protector moving from a curled or flexed mode to an extended mode which can prevent hyperextension of the digit or thumb;
  • [0041]
    FIG. 25 is a top view of an alternative thumb protector incorporating the protective pads;
  • [0042]
    FIG. 26 is a section view of the alternative thumb protector incorporating the protective pad taken along lines 26-26 of FIG. 25; and
  • [0043]
    FIG. 27 is a section view of the thumb protector incorporating the protective pad taken along lines 27-27 of FIG. 25.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0044]
    FIGS. 1-8 illustrate a shoulder pad system 10 including a current embodiment of the protective pad 20. In general, the shoulder pad system 10 includes a pair of shoulder caps 20, also referred to as shoulder pads or protective pads, which are joined with a chest protector 12 and back protector 14. The shoulder pad system 10 can also include a sternum protector 12A associated with the chest protector 12, and a spine protector 15 associated with the back protector 14. The shoulder system 10 can include rib protectors 16 and collar bone protectors 18. Of course, the protector pad 20, in the form of a shoulder pad in the pad system 10, can be in a variety of different configurations and can take on a variety of different pad formations. Although described in conjunction with a shoulder pad and elbow pad, as noted above, the protective pad 20 can be incorporated into knee pads, shin guards, wrist pads, gloves, thumb protectors, digit protectors, leg pads, ankle pads, body armor, helmets, hip pads, rib pads, sternum protectors, spine protectors and a variety of other protective equipment.
  • [0045]
    Turning now to FIGS. 3-7, the protective pad 20 will now be described in more detail. As shown, the protective pad 20 is attached to the shoulder pad system 10 via a system of straps. The protective pad 20 can be associated with one or more bicep pads 13 and 17. Each of the protective pads can be generally configured to conform to the shape of the body part received by the protective pad, for example, the shoulder, elbow, kneecap, shin, leg and the like. As a result, the protective pad 20 can provide protection without negatively affecting mobility of the wearer.
  • [0046]
    The protective pad 20 can include an outer layer, or a cushion layer 30. The cushion layer can be secured to a rigid shell 50 and/or a gasket 40. Generally, the outer layer or cushion layer can be constructed from a low density foam or other compliant material. By low density foam or low density compliant material, it is meant that the foam/compliant material has a density generally of about 0.02 grams per cm3 to about 0.09 grams per cm3, optionally, less than 0.07 grams per cm3, further optionally about 0.045 grams per cm3. The particular foam or compliant material can be constructed from low density ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), polyurethane, or open pore polystyrene. The outer cushion layer 30 can be constructed from foams or other materials that deform under pressure, thus absorbing some of the force generated by an impact. As a result, the impact on the player transferred through the pad is lessened because of the deformation of the compressible material absorbing some of the overall shock of the impact.
  • [0047]
    The outer cushion 30 layer can generally be enveloped or covered with a covering. The covering can be a fabric, woven or non-woven, such as Lycra®, spandex, vinyl, polyester, nylon or some other generally soft, pliable lightweight material. Although not shown, the covering can be glued, stitched, cemented or otherwise secured with fasteners to the outer cushion layer. The outer cushion layer 30 can include a stitching channel 32 (FIG. 3) if stitching is the construction for attaching the cushion layer 30 and other elements together.
  • [0048]
    The outer cushion layer 30 can be of a predetermined thickness. This predetermined thickness can be a minimum thickness mandated by the particular rules of the sport in which the protective pad is used. As shown in FIG. 7, the thickness 33 of the outer cushion layer 30 can range from about 2 mm to about 12 mm, 5 mm to about 10 mm, and optionally about 7 mm to 8 mm. Depending on the particular location of the outer cushion layer 30 over the shell 50, the outer layer can vary in thickness. For example, as illustrated, it is of about 10 mm at the thickness 33 generally in the center or central region of the protective pad 20. Nearing the outer edges of the shell 50, close to the gasket 40, the outer cushion layer 30 can decrease in thickness. In some cases, it can decrease down to 8 mm, 5 mm or 3 mm or other thicknesses depending on the particular application. Optionally, the outer cushion layer can have a durometer of 65 Shore 00. Of course, the durometers for the material making up the outer cushion layer can be adjusted as desired, depending on the particular application.
  • [0049]
    The outer layer 30 and any optional covering thereof can further be joined with the shell 50. The shell 50 can be constructed from a rigid or semi-rigid, self-supporting, generally slightly deformable materials such as high density polyethylene, polypropylene, polycarbonate, metals, laminates, polyesters and polyamide materials. Generally, the rigid shell can be a variety of thicknesses, for example, it can be about 0.5 mm to about 5 mm, optionally about 1 mm to about 3 mm and further optionally about 2 mm in thickness. Of course, the thicker the piece, the more weight that is added to the protective pad.
  • [0050]
    The shell 50 can generally be contoured so that it is of a relatively low profile and follows the contours of the body part which is designed to protect. The shell 50 generally can include a convex, exterior surface 52 and a concave inner surface 53. The shell 50 also can be constructed to be bounded by an outer edge 54. Depending on the particular configuration, the outer edge generally can conform to the boundary wall 42, also referred to as a “ring” of the gasket, as described further below. The shell 50 also can include a zone of engagement 56 which is the region around the perimeter 57 of the shell that engages the gasket 40 directly. More particularly, the zone of engagement 56 is a region where the interior surface, for example the concave angled or other interior surface 53 of the shell 50 engages or lays upon the support shelf 41 of the gasket 40. The zone of engagement 56 can extend about 3 mm to about 10 mm, or more inward from the outer edge 54. The zone of engagement is usually sized so that it fits substantially entirely within the ring or boundary wall 42 of the gasket 40.
  • [0051]
    Optionally, the zone of engagement 56 can be constructed so that it transitions to a stepped or angled portion 58 (FIG. 7) which itself transitions to an upper level or bridge portion 59 of the shell. This stepped portion or transition level 58 can provide extra springiness, rebound characteristics and/or shock absorption to the shell 50 when it is impacted by a force F. Optionally, this stepped or angled portion 58 of the shell can provide a geometry to the cap that improves stiffness and increases the height of the cavity near the edge by a distance, for example, by a distance DE of about 3 mm to about 10 mm, closer to the gasket 40.
  • [0052]
    The shell can terminate at the shell edge 54. The shell edge can correspond closely to the edge 37 of the overlying cushion or outer layer 30. Indeed, the two elements can be coterminous so that they closely fit adjacent or abut the boundary wall 44.
  • [0053]
    Referring to FIG. 7, the shell 50 is constructed so that in its finished form it is positioned a distance D above the inner liner or layer 60. Where the gasket 40 extends across the liner, under the shell 50, the shell 50 also can extend that distance D above the innermost portion of the gasket 40. Generally, the distance D is selected so that even upon impact of a force F the inner liner or layer 60, the innermost or central portion 43A (where optionally included) of the gasket does not engage or contact the interior surface 53 of the shell. For example, this distance D can range from about 1 mm to about 25 mm, 2 mm to about 15 mm, 5 mm to about 10 mm, or any other distance depending on the particular application, so that the inner layer 60 or the central portion 43A of the gasket 40 does not contact the interior surface 53 of the shell 50.
  • [0054]
    As shown in FIG. 7, with the shell 50 separated from the liner 60 and/or central portion 43A of the gasket, an air cavity 61 is formed therebetween, or between the interior 53 of the shell and the central portion 43A of the gasket 40.
  • [0055]
    Generally, the pad 20 can include the inner layer or liner 60. This inner layer 60 can be constructed from a low density compliant material, such as a low density foam. This low density foam or low density compliant material can be an EVA or polyurethane foam generally ranging in density from about 0.03 grams per cm3 to about 0.9 grams per cm3, optionally about 0.045 grams per cm3. The inner layer can have a durometer of about 55 Shore OO. The inner layer can be joined with the gasket 40 and positioned adjacent a lower surface 46 of the gasket. This inner layer 60 can be of any desired thickness, for example, it can be about 1 mm to about 15 mm, 2 to about 10 mm, and optionally about 6 mm in thickness. The thickness can be uniform across the entire layer, or the thickness can follow the contour of the gasket to reduce in bulk and improve upon pressure distribution.
  • [0056]
    Optionally, the inner layer 60 can be of a laminate construction with a fabric covering its interior and exterior sides. The fabric can be Lycra®, or any other suitable fabric for engagement against a wearer's skin or clothing. As shown in FIG. 6, the inner layer 60 can include an upper surface 62 that is covered with a fabric and opposing lower surface 63 that is also covered with the same fabric 63 wrapped around the layer. The fabric can be any woven or non-woven fabric or elastic support including, but not limited to, spandex, Lycra®, vinyl, polyester and/or nylon. The inner layer or liner 60 can be constructed from the low density foam or low density compliant material as mentioned above. Optionally, it can be formed with a fabric or other covering or lining. Generally, however, the inner layer is in a substantially un-tensioned state when it is located under the rigid shell cap and attached to the gasket. By un-tensioned state, it is meant that the inner layer is not stretched and put under an internal stress when the pad is not in use on a wearer. Of course, however, the fabric covering of the inner layer 60 can be slightly tensioned with the inner layer 60 still being generally in an un-tensioned state.
  • [0057]
    Turning now to FIGS. 4-7, the gasket 40 generally includes an upper surface 45 and a lower surface 46, with an open-faced recess 44 that is defined by the upper surface 45. The gasket also includes an outer gasket perimeter 49 and an inner gasket perimeter 48, along with a corresponding outer gasket edge 49A and inner gasket edge 48A. The inner gasket perimeter 48 and edge 48A can be eliminated where the gasket includes a central region 43A (FIG. 7) that extends from one side of the gasket 40 to another. The gasket upper surface 45 and lower surface 46 can be joined at the gasket outer edge 49A, which can also define the outermost portion of the outer gasket perimeter 49. That outer gasket edge 49A can be rounded, squared or angled depending on the particular application. The same is true for the inner gasket edge 48A. Optionally, the inner gasket edge 48A can join the lower surface 46 with the support shelf 41, rather than the upper surface 45.
  • [0058]
    The support shelf 41 of the gasket 40 generally is transversely oriented, for example, perpendicular to, the boundary wall or ring 42. The boundary wall 42 can extend upwardly from the support shelf 41 to the upper surface 45 of the gasket 40. At the transition from the boundary wall 42 to the upper surface 45, the boundary wall can be rounded for a gentle transition to the upper surface. Indeed, the entire ring or boundary wall 42 can be of a generally rounded or angled configuration from the shelf to the upper surface if desired. Optionally, the support shelf can transition from a first, lower level, upward to a second higher level of the upper surface via the boundary wall. The upper surface 45 can extend outwardly, away from the boundary wall 42 so that it does not overlap or extend over the support shelf.
  • [0059]
    The support shelf 41, as shown in FIGS. 4, 7 and 8 can engage the interior surface 53 of the shell 50 in the engagement zone 56. This engagement can be of the type where these elements are simply adjacent and nesting against one another, for example, by virtue of these elements being stitched to one another. Alternatively, these elements can be glued, cemented, mated or otherwise fastened to one another. Optionally, however, the shell is not encapsulated with the gasket, and therefore is not bonded to the support shelf and/or boundary wall.
  • [0060]
    The support shelf 41 can be of a predetermined thickness D9 (FIG. 8) to ensure that the force is transferred through the shell 50 are effectively transferred to the gasket 40 and to the wearer in a dissipated, shock absorbing manner. In the embodiment illustrated, the thickness D9 of the gasket from the support shelf 41 to the lower surface 46 of the gasket 40 can be about 2 mm to about 8 mm, optionally about 4 mm to about 5 mm and further optionally about 4.5 mm. The support shelf 41 can also be of a width D2 (FIG. 4) extending generally from the boundary wall 42 to the inner gasket edge 48A. This distance D2 can be about 5 mm to about 20 mm, optionally about 10 mm to about 15 mm. The precise width D2 can be selected depending on the zone of engagement 56 with the gasket 40 and the overall size of the protective pad 20.
  • [0061]
    As shown in FIG. 7, the support shelf 41 can engage the zone of engagement 56 of the shell 50 around the perimeter 57 of the shell. The edge 54 of the shell can rest adjacent the support shelf 41. Optionally, the shell edge 54 can be spaced on the shelf 41 a preselected distance D3 from the ring or boundary wall 42, in which case the edge 54 is considered adjacent but offset from the ring or wall also referred to as the boundary wall 42. Alternatively, the edge 54 can be placed in abutment with the boundary wall 42, in which case it is directly engaging that boundary wall 42.
  • [0062]
    The gap D3 (FIG. 7) established between the outer edge 54 of the shell 50 and the boundary wall 42 can be of any of the distances described above. Generally, it can be said to be offset a distance from the boundary wall 42 of the recess 44. Optionally, the outer edge 54 of the shell 50 can be located in the recess 44 without being overlapped by any other portion of the gasket 140. For example, the exterior or upper surface of the shell 52 around the perimeter 57 or near the edges 54 is not overlapped by the gasket or any portions of the gasket 40. Further optionally, the recess can be formed so that that it opens upwardly, forming a shoulder in the gasket. The shoulder can be such that the upper surface 45 terminates at and transitions to the boundary wall 42, which further transitions to the support shelf 41. The support shelf can be free from any other components of the gasket being located over it, such as the upper surface 45, so that the shell can be dropped or placed directly onto the shelf.
  • [0063]
    The gasket 40 optionally can be constructed to have a margin 47 that extends around the gasket from the boundary wall 42 to the outer edge 49A of the gasket. This margin 47 can generally be referred to as the outer width of the gasket surrounding the shell 50. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 7, this margin can be of a width D5. This width D5 can be about 0.5 mm to about 50 mm, 10 mm to about 30 mm, and optionally about 15 mm, or other widths depending on the particular application and desired force dissipation. This margin can be of a predefined, preselected depth D4, extending generally from the upper surface 45 of the gasket 40 to the lower surface 46 of the gasket. This depth D4 can range from about 5 mm to about 20 mm, optionally about 7 mm to about 15 mm, and even further optionally about 10 mm in thickness.
  • [0064]
    Generally, the gasket 40 can be constructed from a high density compliant material. The high density compliant material can be foam, such as expanded polypropylene foam, ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), polyurethane, or open pore polystyrene or other foams, thermoplastic polyurethane, gels and the like. By high density compliant material or high density foam, it is meant that the material/foam has a density generally of about 0.05 grams per cm3 to about 0.30 grams per cm3, optionally, greater than 0.05 grams per cm3, further optionally greater than 0.10 grams per cm3, even further optionally about 0.15 grams per cm3 or greater, depending on the application.
  • [0065]
    As shown in FIG. 7, when the shell 50 and its corresponding outer or cushion layer 30 are installed with the perimeter 57 and/or zone of engagement 56 located in the recess 44, the outer or upper surface of the cushion layer 30 can be generally flush or even with the upper surface 45 of the gasket 40. This can provide a clean and neat transition between these two surfaces. Of course, if desired, these surfaces can be offset from one another, on completely different levels.
  • [0066]
    As further shown in FIG. 7, the gasket 40 also includes a central portion 43A extending from one side of the gasket to the other. The central portion 43A can be of a minimal dimension, for example about 0.5 mm to about 2 mm, optionally about 1 mm. Of course, if desired, this central portion 43A can be completely eliminated as shown in the embodiment in FIG. 8. This embodiment is substantially the same as the embodiment shown in FIG. 7 except that it does not include the respective skin in the central portion 43A of the gasket. Further, as shown in FIG. 8, the figure illustrates the variability in the distance between the interior surface 53 of the shell 50 and the upper surface 56 of the inner layer 60. For example, generally, in the center of the pad 20, the distance D is greater than the distance DE closer to the gasket. These distances DE can vary from distance D by 25% to 50%, or more depending on the particular application the compression characteristics of the pad 20.
  • [0067]
    FIG. 8 also illustrates a close up view of the gasket and its connection with the shell 50 and outer cushion layer 30. As shown, the outer cushion layer 30 and shell 50 can be joined with the gasket 40 via a stitch 73 passing through those elements. Generally, the stitch 73 also passes through the shelf 41 and the entire thickness D9 of the gasket below the shelf. To conceal the ends and protect the gasket and inner layer 60 from de-lamination, a binding 70 can be wrapped around the edges of these elements. This binding 70 can be held in place by stitching 72. Of course, in place of the stitching, the respective elements can be joined together with cement, adhesives, RF welding or other fasteners depending on the particular application. Further, although shown as being a generally squared-off at their edges, the gasket 40 and liner 60 can terminate at any type of geometric configuration, for example, the ends can be rounded, triangular, boxed and/or polygonal.
  • [0068]
    Another embodiment of the protective pad is shown in FIGS. 9-17 and generally designated 120. This protective pad 120 is substantially the same as the protective pad in the embodiment above, however, it is implemented in an elbow pad system 110 and can generally include the protective pad 120 which includes an outer cushion layer 130, a gasket 140, a shell 150 and an inner liner or layer 160. The elbow pad system 110 can include a bicep strap 111 that straps the pad around the bicep of the wearer. A central elbow strap 112 can further join the pad with the elbow. A forearm strap 113 can even further join the elbow pad system 110 with the arm of the wearer. The protective pad 120 can be divided into first and second protective pad portions 120A and 120B. Generally, each of these protective portions are identical to the protective pad described above with a few exceptions. For example, the first portion 120A can generally be configured to cover an elbow of the wearer. The second portion 120B can be configured to cover the forearm or arm immediately adjacent the elbow. The elements 120A and 120B can be segmented and/or separated by a portion of the gasket 140. This can provide added articulation and movement to the wearer. Of course for other appendages, similar constructions can be used.
  • [0069]
    Another embodiment of the protective pad is shown in FIGS. 20-24 and generally designated 220. This protective pad 220 is essentially the same as the protective pad in the embodiments above, however it is omitted in a thumb protector or digit protector system. As used herein, thumb protector is used to mean that the protective pad is used to protect the thumb or any digit of the hand. Moreover, although described in connection with a thumb protector, the protective pad construction described herein could be used with any digit or the hand or other appendage. Generally, the thumb protector provides not only impact absorption and force dissipation as described in connection with the other embodiments, but also can prevent a thumb within a glove including the thumb protector from bending backwards, thereby preventing hyperextension of the wearer's thumb. Generally, the protective pad can be incorporated into a finger or thumb portion of a protective glove 202. The protective pad 220 can be attached to the finger portion or thumb portion using a conventional means for example, via stitching, gluing, adhering, RF welding and/or fastening. The protective pad 220 can generally include a gasket 240 and a rigid shell 250. The gasket can be joined to one or more inner layers (not shown) which is further attached to the finger or thumb portion 202 of the glove.
  • [0070]
    Generally the gasket 240 can be substantially similar to the gaskets 40 and 140 above. The shell 250 can be separated into first shell portion 250A and second shell portion 250B. The first shell portion 250A can also be referred to as the proximal shell portion while the portion 250B can be referred to as the distal shell portion. The shells making up these portions can be substantially identical to the other shells described in connection with the other protective pads herein. Generally the distal shell portion 250B can be configured to cover and provide protection for the distal phalanx while the proximal shell 250A provides protection for the proximal phalanx. Each of the respective proximal and distal shells 250A and 250B can include the interior and exterior surfaces. The interior surface 253 can be generally concave. The shells can also include an outer edge 254 like the other pads noted above.
  • [0071]
    The gasket 240 can be similar to the gaskets of the embodiments above with several exceptions. For example, the gasket 240 can include a support shell or portion 241 that is bounded by a boundary wall or ring 242. The boundary shell in this embodiment, however, can extend entirely under respective proximal and distal shell portions 250A and 250B so that the inner surfaces 253 thereof are in contact with the shell 241 across substantially all the underside of the respective shell portions. Of course, however, there can be gaps established between the interior surface 253 and the support shell 241 in particular locations are desired.
  • [0072]
    The forward edge 256A of the proximal shell portion 250A and the rear edge 256B of the distal shell 250B can be however unbounded by the boundary wall or ring 242. Generally as shown in FIG. 23 these edges 256A and 256B can be free, extending beyond the shell 241. In this construction however, and as further described below, these edges 256A and 256B can be positioned so that in the extended state they are immediately adjacent the proximal and distal walls of the stopper 281 and 282.
  • [0073]
    Returning to the gasket 240 shown on FIGS. 22 and 23, the gasket can include a margin 247 that effectively forms a base for both of the proximal and distal shells. The base extends from adjacent the proximal shell 250A and around the distal shell 250B. The base can include a margin 247 as described above in connection with the margin of the gasket in the other embodiments above. Likewise the respective surfaces and other constructions of the gasket 240 can be similar to that of the gaskets in the other embodiments for protective pads above.
  • [0074]
    One exception is that the base 245 can include a zone or region of flexion. Within the zone or region of flexion, a stopper 280 can be located. The zone of flexion can include one or more gaps 248A that are established between the stopper 280 and in particular the proximal 256A and distal 256B surfaces of the stopper 280, relative to the edges 241A and 241B. These gaps can be anywhere from 0.01 m to 2 mm, or other distances depending on the particular application. The gaps can extend from a lateral side of the gasket 240 to a medial side of the gasket 240. The zone of flexion can allow the portion of the gasket 240 associated with the proximal shell 258 to flex or move about the region of flexion 248 relative to the portion of the gasket associated with the distal shell 250B. Generally there is no fixed pivot in the region of flexion 248, rather the shell can flex somewhat dynamically in multiple different locations of the gasket, particularly in the margin 247. Without a designated, specific point of pivot, the thumb protector can accommodate a variety of different length and oriented and configured thumbs of a variety of different wearers.
  • [0075]
    The zone of flexion 248 as shown above also can be joined with the stopper 280. Again the stopper can be constructed monolithically from a single piece construction with the remainder of the gasket 240. The stopper 280 can extend from the margin 247 on a medial side of the thumb protector pad to a lateral side of the protector pad. The stopper itself can include an exterior surface 283 and an interior surface 284 opposite the exterior surface. Generally the interior surface 284 can be flush with the interior surface of the remainder of the gasket while the exterior surface 283 can be flush with and/or extend above the proximal 250A and distal 250B shells.
  • [0076]
    The stopper is illustrated in FIGS. 22 and 23 and can generally be an arch shape extending across the gasket 240 and disposed generally between the edges or end portions 256A and 256B, respective proximal 250A and distal 250B shells.
  • [0077]
    In operation, the thumb protector 220 can operate to prevent hyper or over extension of the digit, for example the thumb, in which the thumb protector is implemented. For example, as shown there, the thumb protector is shown in a partially flexed state in solid lines. In that configuration, a first gap G1 is established between the edge 256B of the distal shell 250B and the front or forward surface 281 of the stopper 280. Further, a second gap is optionally established between the forward edge 256A of the proximal shell 250A and the rear surface 283 of the stopper 280. The gaps 248A and 248B respectively open up between the portions of the gasket adjacent the stopper 280.
  • [0078]
    When the thumb, however, is forced rearwardly in the direction of the arrows as shown toward a hyper extended or over extended state, the gap G1 and optional gap G2 are closed so that the respective edges 256B contacts the surface 281 of the stopper 280 and the edge 256A contacts the rear surface 283 of the stopper 280. This collision or engagement of the respective proximal and distal shells 250A, 250B of the stopper surfaces stops or impairs the rearward motion of the digit within the glove to which the protective pad 220 is associated so that that digit does not hyperextend. The forces of the edges impacting the surfaces of the stopper 280 can also be transmitted through these proximal and distal shells to the respective boundary walls 242 to further decrease the likelihood of hyper extension.
  • [0079]
    As shown in FIGS. 10-13 and 16-17, the pad portion 120A covering the elbow can include specialized shell 150. This shell can include virtually all of the components of the shell in the shoulder pad embodiment above. In addition, or alternatively, it can also include a cupped portion 181. This cupped portion can be of a particular depth, which is best illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 17. This depth D6 can provide a larger cavity 161 under the point of the wearer's elbow. This can provide better protection for the wearer and another person or player contacting the protective pad 120. The distance D6 can range from about 5 mm to about 25 mm, optionally about 10 mm to about 15 mm.
  • [0080]
    The distance D6 can be substantially greater than the distance D8 (FIG. 17) between the shell 150 and the remainder of the inner layer 160, for example, closer to the forearm, away from the point of the elbow. Distance D8 can range from about 0.5 mm to about 2 mm, optionally about 1 mm. With this construction, the forces F2 applied over the point of the elbow to the pad can be dissipated, and the shock absorbed rapidly by contact of the shell 150 with the underlying liner 160. Moreover, the forces F2 can be dissipated over a larger surface area of the liner or inner layer 160, which can reduce the impact felt by both the wearer and the opponent impacting the wearer.
  • [0081]
    As shown in FIGS. 14 and 15, the elbow protective pad 120 and its respective portions 120A and 120B, generally each include an outer cushion layer 130, a shell layer 150, a gasket layer 140 and an inner or liner layer 160. Each of these respective elements can be constructed similarly to and include the same features and characteristics of those described in connection with the embodiment above. An exception concerns the gasket 140. For example, the gasket 140 can include a bridge portion or separator portion 140A. On opposite sides of the separator portion 140A the boundary walls 142A and 142B can be formed. Likewise, the respective support shelves 141A and 141 B can be formed immediately adjacent those respective boundary walls. The margin 147 of the gasket 140 can extend around the respective outer perimeters of the shell 150, and likewise between the adjacent shell portions 150A and 150B. The respective perimeters 154A and 154B of the respective shell portions 150A and 150B can be placed adjacent and/or abut the respective rings or boundary walls 142A, 142B.
  • [0082]
    Another difference between the cushion layer 130 of this embodiment and the embodiment above concerns the edges or perimeter of the that layer. For example, as shown in FIG. 17, the cushion layer 130 can include a cushion layer margin 135 that can extend or wrap around the edge 154 of the shell 150. This margin 135 of the cushion layer 130 also can wrap and extend under the undersurface 153 of the shell with secondary margin portion 136. Stitching 173 can be stitched through the cushion layer 130, the shell 150, and the inner layer 160 to attach all of these elements together.
  • [0083]
    Another embodiment of the protective pad is shown in FIGS. 20-24 and generally designated 220. This protective pad 220 is similar to protective pads in the embodiments above, however it is included in a thumb protector or digit protector 210. As used herein, “thumb protector” means that the protective pad can be used to protect the thumb or any digit of the hand, and includes both thumb protectors and digit protectors. Generally, the thumb protector 210 with the protective pad provides not only impact absorption and force dissipation as described in connection with the other embodiments, but also can prevent a thumb or digit (used interchangeably herein) within a glove including the thumb protector from bending backward, thereby preventing hyperextension of the wearer's thumb or digit.
  • [0084]
    The protective pad can be incorporated into a finger or thumb portion of a protective glove 202. The protective pad 220 can be attached to the finger portion or thumb portion using any conventional means, for example, via stitching, gluing, adhering, radio frequency welding and/or fastening. The protective pad 220 can include a gasket 240 and rigid shell 250. The gasket 240 can be joined to one or more inner layers (not shown) which are further attached to the finger or thumb portion 202 of the glove.
  • [0085]
    The gasket 240 can be substantially similar to that of the gaskets 40 and 140 above. The shell 250 (FIG. 20) can be separated into first shell portion 250A and second shell portion 250B. First shell portion 250A can be referred to as the proximal shell portion, and the second shell portion 250B can be referred to as the distal shell portion. The shells making up these portions can be substantially identical to the other shells described in connection with the other protective pads herein.
  • [0086]
    Generally, the distal shell portion 250B can be configured to cover and provide protection for the distal phalanx while the proximal shell 250A can be configured to cover and provide protection for the proximal phalanx. Each of the respective proximal and distal shells 250A and 250B can include interior and exterior surfaces. The interior surface 253 of each can be generally concave. The shells each can also include an outer edge 254 like the other protective pads in the embodiments above.
  • [0087]
    The gasket 240 can be similar to the gaskets of the embodiments above with several exceptions. For example the gasket 240 can include a support shelf or portion 241 that is bounded by a boundary wall or ring 242. The boundary shelf in this embodiment, however, can extend entirely under the respective proximal and distal shells 250A and 250B so that the inner surfaces 253 of the shells thereof are in contact with the shelf 241 across substantially all the underside of the respective shells 250A and 250B. Optionally, gaps or cavities can be established between the interior surface 253 of the shells 250A and 250B and the support shelf 241 in particular locations as desired.
  • [0088]
    The forward edge 256A of the proximal shell 250A and the rear edge 256B of the distal shell 250B can be unbounded by the boundary wall or ring 242. As shown in FIG. 23, generally these edges 256A and 256B can be free, extending beyond the shelf 241. As further described below, these edges 256A and 256B can be positioned so that in the extended state they are immediately adjacent the proximal 251 and distal 282 walls or engagement surfaces of the stopper 280.
  • [0089]
    Returning to FIGS. 22 and 23, the gasket 240 can include a base 245 for both of the proximal and distal shells. The base extends from adjacent the proximal shell 250A and around the distal shell 250B. The base can include a margin 247 as described in connection with the margin of the gasket in the other embodiments herein. Likewise, the respective surfaces of the gasket 240 can be similar to that of the gaskets in the other embodiments herein.
  • [0090]
    One exception is that the base 245 can include a zone or region of flexion 248. Within the zone or region of flexion, a stopper 280 can be located. The zone of flexion, and more generally, the gasket 240, can include one or more gaps 248A and 248B established between the stopper 280, and in particular, the proximal 281 and distal 282 surfaces of the stopper 280 relative to the edges 241A and 241B of the shelf or gasket. These gaps can be anywhere from 0.01 mm to 2.0 mm, or other distances depending on the particular application. The gaps can extend from a lateral L side of the gasket 240 to a medial M side of the gasket 240. The zone of flexion can allow the portion of the gasket 240 or base 245 associated with the proximal shell 250A to flex or move about the region of flexion, and/or relative to the portion of the gasket 240 or base 245 associated with the distal shell 250B.
  • [0091]
    As illustrated, there is no fixed pivot in the region of flexion 248, rather the shell flexes generally dynamically, in multiple different locations of the gasket, particularly in the margin 247. Without an isolated and specific pivot point, the thumb protector can accommodate a variety of different length and configured thumbs or digits to accommodate multiple users. Optionally, if desired, the zone of flexion can be replaced with one or more dedicated pivot points, with the gasket parts or shell connected via one or more pins or fasteners.
  • [0092]
    The zone of flexion 248 as shown above also can be joined with the stopper 280. The stopper 280 can be constructed with the remainder of the gasket 240, monolithically from a single piece construction. The stopper 280 can extend from the margin 247 on a medial side M of a protective to a lateral side L of a protective pad. The stopper itself can include an exterior surface 283 and an interior surface 284 opposite the exterior surface. Generally, the interior surface 284 can be flush with the interior surface of the gasket, while the exterior surface 283 can be flush with and/or extend above the proximal shell 250A and distal 250B shell.
  • [0093]
    The stopper 280, as illustrated in FIGS. 22 and 23 can be configured in an arch shape extending across the gasket 240 and disposed generally between the edges or end portions 256A and 256B of the respective proximal 250A and distal 250B shells.
  • [0094]
    In operation, the thumb protector 220 can operate to prevent hyper or over extension of a thumb or digit. As shown in FIG. 24, the thumb protector 220 is shown in a partially flexed state in solid lines. In that configuration, a first gap G1 can be established between the edge 256B of the distal shell 250B and the distal surface 282 of the stopper 280. Further, a second gap can be optionally established between the forward edge 256A of the proximal shell 250A and the proximal surface 282 of the stopper 280. The respective gaps 248A and 248B respectively are opened up between the portions of the gasket adjacent the stopper 280 as shown in FIG. 22 when the thumb is in a flexed mode.
  • [0095]
    When the thumb is forced rearwardly in the direction of the arrows as shown, toward a hyperextended or overextended state, gap G1 and gap G2 are closed so that the distal shell and its edge 256B contacts the distal surface 282 of the stopper 280, and the proximal shell and its edge 256A contacts the proximal surface 281 of the stopper 280. This collision or engagement of the respective proximal and distal shells 250A, 250B with the stopper surfaces stops or impairs the rearward motion of the digit within the glove, so that digit is not hyperextended. The forces of the edges impacting the surfaces of the stopper 280 can also be transmitted through these proximal and distal shells to the respective shelf 24 and/or boundary walls 242, as well as the margin and gasket in general (as discussed with the other embodiments herein), to further decrease the likelihood of hyperextension.
  • [0096]
    Optionally, the protective pad in the thumb protector described immediately above can be modified so that the respective gaps 248A and 248B of the gasket 240 are eliminated. In this construction, the proximal and distal shells 250A and 250B, and in particular the edges 256A and 256B, can rest immediately adjacent and/or in contact with the stopper 280. In this construction, the protective pad operates similar to the protective pads of the other embodiments herein. The shells and the boundary walls 242 as well as the shelf 241 operate and transmit forces similar to the other protective pads described herein. Further optionally, the thumb protector described immediately above can be modified so that it is more of a fixed nonmoving non-flexing construction with a unitary rigid shell. For example as shown in FIGS. 25-27, the shell 350 can be a rigid and unitary piece. This protective pad is similar to the other shoulder cap and elbow pad constructions described above with a few exceptions. For example, the thumb protector 320 includes a shell 350 that is joined with a gasket 340. The edge of the shell abuts against the foundry wall or ring 342 of the gasket like the other embodiments above. The shell can also include reinforcing ridges or recesses 355A and 355B that run along the portion of the shell to provide structural reinforcement. The shell can also include a secondary cushion 354 above it. Additional cushion materials or finishing trim pieces 353 and 357 can be configured around at least a portion of the shell 350 and its perimeter to better hold it in securement with the gasket and protect it from exposure to a stick or other item used that is held by hand within the hand within the glove.
  • [0097]
    The thumb protector 320 can also optionally include a cavity defined between the interior of the shell 350 and the shell 341 or generally the gasket 340. Further optionally, the shell 350 can be supported by a support ridge or projection 345 and this projection 345 can extend upwardly from the casket 340 as shown. The shell can include a recess or other area 352 configured to interact with and/or engage the ridge 345 effectively, the ridge, recess or area 352 of the shell 350. This can provide additional optional support, enforce transmission capabilities of the protective pad 320.
  • [0098]
    A method for assembling the protective pad of the embodiments above will now be described. To begin, the gasket of the protective pad can be compression molded to obtain a desired shape. The gasket may or may not be lined with a material for cosmetic purposes. If it is, the material can be sewn, glued, radio frequency welded or otherwise attached to the outer surfaces of the gasket. The rigid shell material is molded, optionally injected molded, and cut to the desired dimensions. It can be covered with an outer protective layer or foam as described above, and an inner lining if desired as well. These components can be held together with an adhesive cement or other fastening mechanism. The shell, along with the outer cushion layer and optional lining cover can be sewn to the gasket along the inner edges or in the zone of attachment and/or the ring. With these components constructed, the inner layer or liner, which also can be lined with a material as described above, can be added to the underside of the gasket and stitched together along an outer perimeter. If desired, the nylon binding can be added to the edge of the gasket and inner layer to conceal the junction and interface between these elements.
  • [0099]
    The protective pad of the current embodiments can be used to attenuate forces or absorb shock caused by a person or player applying a force via impact to a wearer of a protective pad. Generally, in use the method includes the wearer donning the protective pad. For example, with reference to FIG. 1 or 13, the respective shoulder pad system 10 or elbow system pad 110 can be placed on the torso or elbow, respectively, of the wearer. The rigid shell 50, 150 and inner layer 60, 160 cooperate so that a cavity remains between these elements and generally above the wearer's appendage when the gasket 40, 140 on the respective pads is placed adjacent the wearer. With the protective pads 20, 120 in place, the wearer can engage in activity. An opponent can apply a force to the protective pad 20, 120, for example by impacting the wearer with a force F, F2 (FIGS. 7, 17). The applied force is somewhat attenuated by the outer cushion layer 30, 130. The remaining force F, F2 is transferred to the shell 50, 150. Regardless of whether the impact occurs at the center of the pad or elsewhere, this force is transmitted through the zone of engagement to the ring 42, 142 and/or shelf 41, 141 of the gasket 40, 140. Where the outer edge 54, 154 of the shell engages or abuts the boundary wall 42, 142, part of the force can also be transmitted through the boundary wall to the gasket 40, 140. The forces are generally distributed through the gasket 40, 140 and substantially attenuated to the lesser forces FW, FW2 as shown in FIGS. 7 and 17.
  • [0100]
    The gasket and shell effectively cooperate to absorb the shock generated by the applied force. It can be said that these elements generally provide a trampoline effect or two-way spring effect so that the wearer and the colliding opponent both encounter a reduced amount of force. Further, the effective duration of the forces and impact exerted on the wearer, and likewise felt by the opponent contacting the protective pad is spread out over a greater amount of time, which in turn causes a decrease in the peak force felt by the wearer and the opponent.
  • [0101]
    As an example, reference is made to FIG. 18 which shows force applied versus duration of impact. This example illustrates that by increasing the impact duration, the impulse force or peak force is decreased. The impact only lasts a fraction of a second and is measured in milliseconds. The small increase in the duration causes a substantial decrease in peak force. By reducing the peak force the peak pressure also is reduced. This pressure is that felt by the opponent as well as the wearer.
  • [0102]
    In effect, the protective pad of the embodiments herein accomplishes two things. First, it slows down the impact and thereby provides a cushion to the impact. Second, it also provides a means to absorb the impact energy, and thus provide shock absorption. Generally, the cushioning relates to the amount of deceleration during impact or how much the impact is slowed which is typically measured in units of gravity (Gs). The shock absorption is the amount of energy absorbed by the material, and in this case, by the combination of the outer cushion layer, the shell and the gasket. The gasket, when constructed from higher density compliant materials such as foams or other materials can absorb even more impact energy.
  • [0103]
    To test the efficiency of the protective pad of the present embodiments, two basic shoulder caps were constructed. The first was a conventional shoulder cap construction including a first outer layer of soft EVA foam, an inner or second layer of soft EVA foam, with a plastic shell sandwiched therebetween, with no space between the foam and the plastic. The second protective pad was constructed like that shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. These shoulder cap constructions were compared to one another and to a situation where there was no protection, that is, no padding, located above the sensors used to measure the impacting force.
  • [0104]
    The protective pad of the current embodiments repeatedly performed better than the conventional pad in two ways. First, the impact duration was increased as shown in FIG. 19. This corresponds to a slowing down of the impact and the force gradually, thereby reducing the deceleration caused by the force, that is the G force. Second, the transmitted force also was reduced as a result to establish that the protective pad provides increased cushioning and shock absorption.
  • [0105]
    As shown in FIG. 19, the protective pad of the current embodiment in the form of a shoulder pad reduced the impacting force to 8,000 newtons versus the noted conventional shoulder cap described above, which registered at about 11,000 newtons. This equates to a surprising and unexpected 27% decrease in the transferred impacting force. This force also is noted to be decreased both for the wearer and the player impacting the wearer, which is believed to reduce the potential for injury to both the wearer of the protective pad, and the person impacting the protective pad.
  • [0106]
    The protective pad may be used in many applications, such as in athletic gear and apparel, protective clothing and protective barriers. Objects that may be protected using an item comprising a protective pad of the current embodiments include all parts of the human body such as the elbows, shoulders, head, neck, arms, wrist, hands, thumbs, digits, chest, torso, groin, legs, back, buttocks, knees, shins, ankles and feet. Items that may comprise the protective covering include shoulder pads, elbow pads, helmets, neck braces, wrist pads, gloves, thumb protectors, body armor, shoes, body garments, leg pads, knee pads, shin pads, ankle pads and jackets. Any athletic gear and apparel, protective clothing or protective barrier known in the sports and industrial protective covering industry may be protected.
  • [0107]
    The above description is that of current embodiments of the invention. Various alterations and changes can be made without departing from the spirit and broader aspects of the invention as defined in the appended claims, which are to be interpreted in accordance with the principles of patent law including the doctrine of equivalents. This disclosure is presented for illustrative purposes and should not be interpreted as an exhaustive description of all embodiments of the invention or to limit the scope of the claims to the specific elements illustrated or described in connection with these embodiments. For example, and without limitation, any individual element(s) of the described invention may be replaced by alternative elements that provide substantially similar functionality or otherwise provide adequate operation. This includes, for example, presently known alternative elements, such as those that might be currently known to one skilled in the art, and alternative elements that may be developed in the future, such as those that one skilled in the art might, upon development, recognize as an alternative. Further, the disclosed embodiments include a plurality of features that are described in concert and that might cooperatively provide a collection of benefits. The present invention is not limited to only those embodiments that include all of these features or that provide all of the stated benefits, except to the extent otherwise expressly set forth in the issued claims. Any reference to claim elements in the singular, for example, using the articles “a,” “an,” “the” or “said,” is not to be construed as limiting the element to the singular. Any reference to claim elements as “at least one of X, Y and Z” is meant to include any one of X, Y or Z individually, and any combination of X, Y and Z, for example, X, Y, Z; X, Y; X, Z ; and Y, Z.

Claims (25)

    The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
  1. 1. A protective pad comprising:
    a rigid shell having a concave interior surface, the rigid shell bounded by a shell edge around a shell perimeter immediately adjacent the shell edge;
    a gasket constructed from a high density compliant material, the gasket including an outer gasket perimeter and an opposing inner gasket perimeter, the gasket including an upper surface and a lower surface joined by an outer gasket edge, the gasket including an inner gasket edge opposite the outer gasket edge, the gasket upper surface transitioning to a boundary wall located between the inner gasket edge and the outer gasket edge, the gasket including a support shelf that is transverse to the boundary wall and that transitions toward the inner gasket edge;
    a shell recess defined by the gasket and extending around the inner gasket perimeter of the gasket, the shell recess cooperatively bounded by the boundary wall and the support shelf, the shell recess opening upward, with the shell perimeter disposed in the shell recess; and
    an inner layer joined with the gasket and positioned adjacent the lower surface of the gasket, the inner layer separated from the concave interior surface of the rigid shell so that a cavity is formed therebetween, the inner layer being configured in an untensioned state,
    wherein the rigid shell and gasket are configured so that forces of impact transferred from an impacting player to the rigid shell are transferred through the shell perimeter substantially entirely to the gasket to absorb the shock imparted by the force of impact, thereby decreasing the potential for injury to a wearer of the protective pad and the impacting player.
  2. 2. The protective pad of claim 1 comprising a cushion layer disposed above the convex exterior surface of the rigid shell and joined with the rigid shell.
  3. 3. The protective pad of claim 1 wherein the upper surface of the gasket terminates at the boundary wall, without extending over the support shelf and the shell recess, wherein the boundary wall extends downwardly from the upper surface to the support shelf.
  4. 4. The protective pad of claim 1 wherein the support shelf extends to the inner gasket edge, and wherein the boundary wall extends to the upper surface of the gasket.
  5. 5. The protective pad of claim 1 wherein the gasket outer edge at least one of abuts and is disposed adjacent the boundary wall, and wherein the concave interior surface engages the support shelf, but is not bonded to the support shelf, around the shell perimeter, and wherein the inner layer includes a lower surface, with the gasket being distal from the lower surface.
  6. 6. The protective pad of claim 1 wherein the shell perimeter is stitched to the gasket through the support shelf.
  7. 7. The protective pad of claim 1 comprising a cushion layer atop a convex exterior surface of the rigid shell, wherein the cushion layer includes an upper surface, wherein the cushion layer is disposed in the shell recess.
  8. 8. The protective pad of claim 7 wherein the upper surface of the cushion layer is generally coplanar with the upper surface of the gasket.
  9. 9. The protective pad of claim 1 wherein the shell edge is disposed in the shell recess but offset a distance from the boundary wall.
  10. 10. The protective pad of claim 1 wherein the rigid shell is constructed from plastic, the gasket is constructed from high density foam, and the inner layer is constructed from low density foam.
  11. 11. A protective pad comprising:
    a rigid shell cap bounded by a perimeter and an outer edge, the rigid shell cap having an interior surface and an exterior surface;
    an outer cushion layer disposed over the rigid shell cap; and
    a gasket including an upper surface and defining an upwardly opening inner gasket perimeter recess bounded by a boundary wall and a support shelf that are transverse to one another, the upper surface terminating at the boundary wall so that the upper surface of the gasket extends outwardly away from the support shelf, without extending over the inner gasket perimeter recess;
    wherein the outer edge of the rigid shell cap abuts the boundary wall,
    wherein the interior surface of the rigid shell cap engages the support shelf of the gasket,
    wherein the rigid shell cap bows outwardly above a wearer when the gasket is placed adjacent the wearer,
    wherein the rigid shell cap transfers a force applied by an opponent to the rigid shell cap through the gasket to a wearer of the pad to absorb shock associated with the force,
    whereby the rigid shell cap cooperates with the gasket to provide a trampoline effect to absorb shock from a force generated by the opponent, so that the wearer of the pad and the opponent both encounter a reduced amount of the force.
  12. 12. The protective pad of claim 11 wherein the outer edge of the rigid shell cap engages the boundary wall and transfers at least a portion of the forces through the boundary wall to the gasket.
  13. 13. The protective pad of claim 12 wherein at least one of the perimeter and the outer edge is stitched to the gasket.
  14. 14. The protective pad of claim 11 wherein the inner gasket perimeter recess is an open face recess, wherein the outer edge of the rigid shell cap is located in the recess without being overlapped on an exterior surface by the gasket, wherein the rigid shell cap exterior surface remains uncovered by the gasket.
  15. 15. The protective pad of claim 11 comprising an inner layer of low density compliant material extending in a substantially un-tensioned state under the rigid shell cap, from a first side of the gasket to a second side of the gasket, wherein the rigid shell cap exterior surface remains uncovered by the gasket.
  16. 16. The protective pad of claim 11 comprising an inner layer of low density com pliant material disposed below the rigid shell cap, wherein the cavity is located between the inner layer and the interior surface of the of the rigid shell cap, wherein the inner layer is joined with the gasket and configured to prevent the rigid shell cap interior surface from engaging the inner layer and the wearer.
  17. 17. The protective pad of claim 11 wherein the gasket extends laterally away from the outer edge at least 10 mm, wherein the support shelf is at least 3 mm thick, and wherein the gasket is constructed from a high density foam having a density of at least 0.05 grams per cm3.
  18. 18. A method for absorbing shock caused by an opponent applying a force to a wearer of a protective pad, the method comprising:
    placing a protective pad adjacent a wearer, the protective pad including a rigid shell bounded by a perimeter and an outer edge, the rigid shell cap having an interior surface, an outer cushion layer disposed over the rigid shell cap, and a gasket defining an upwardly opening inner gasket perimeter recess having a boundary wall and a support shelf, the outer edge at least one of adjacent and abutting the boundary wall, the interior surface engaging the support shelf, the rigid shell cap bowing outwardly so as to form a cavity above a wearer when the gasket is placed adjacent the wearer,
    applying a force from the opponent to the wearer through the protective pad;
    transferring applied force from the rigid shell cap substantially only through the perimeter and the outer edge of the rigid shell directly to the gasket;
    absorbing the shock generated by the applied force by way of the rigid shell cooperating with the gasket to provide a trampoline effect so that the wearer and the opponent both encounter a reduced amount of the force.
  19. 19. A glove comprising:
    a thumb member,
    a protective pad joined with the thumb member, the protective pad comprising:
    a gasket constructed from a high density foam padding, the gasket including an upper surface and defining a first upwardly opening inner gasket recess bounded by a first boundary wall and a first support shelf that are generally transverse to one another, the gasket defining a second upwardly opening inner gasket recess bounded by a second boundary wall and a second support shelf that are generally transverse to one another, the first upwardly opening inner gasket recess and the second upwardly opening inner gasket recess separated from one another by a gap;
    a stopper disposed within the gap and separated from the first and second support shelves, the stopper joined with the gasket at a zone of flexure, the stopper and gasket being of a monolithic single piece construction,
    a proximal rigid shell disposed within the first upwardly opening inner gasket recess, the proximal rigid shell including a first contact surface facing toward the stopper;
    a distal rigid shell disposed within the second upwardly opening inner gasket recess, the distal rigid shell including a second contact surface facing toward the stopper;
    wherein the protective pad is operable in a flexed mode when a digit in the thumb member is flexed, the first contact surface of the proximal rigid shell and the second contact surface of the distal rigid shell moving away from the stopper in the flexed mode,
    wherein the protective pad is operable in an extended mode when a digit in the thumb member is extended, the first contact surface of the proximal rigid shell and the second contact surface of the distal rigid shell moving toward and engaging the stopper in the extended mode to prevent the digit from hyperextending.
  20. 20. The glove of claim 19 wherein the proximal and distal rigid shells articulate away from one another in the flexed mode, wherein the gasket dynamically flexes within the zone of flexure in the flexed mode.
  21. 21. The glove of claim 19 wherein the gasket includes a gasket base, wherein the stopper is joined with the gasket base, wherein the stopper is constructed in the form of an arch that arches over a user's digit within the thumb member.
  22. 22. The glove of claim 19 wherein the proximal rigid shell includes an exterior surface, wherein the stopper includes an exterior surface, wherein the stopper exterior surface is positioned above the rigid shell exterior surface when the protective pad is in the extended mode.
  23. 23. The glove of claim 19 wherein the proximal rigid shell includes a forward edge and the stopper includes a rearward engagement surface, wherein the forward edge engages the rearward engagement surface of the stopper in the extended mode, but disengages the rearward engagement surface of the stopper in the flexed mode.
  24. 24. The glove of claim 23 wherein the distal rigid shell includes a rearward edge and the stopper includes a forward engagement surface, wherein the rearward edge engages the forward engagement surface of the stopper in the extended mode, but disengages the forward engagement surface of the stopper in the flexed mode.
  25. 25. A glove comprising:
    a thumb member;
    a protective pad joined with the thumb member, the protective pad comprising:
    a gasket including a first gasket recess and a second gasket recess separated from one another by a gap, the gasket including a proximal portion and a distal portion movably joined with one another;
    a proximal rigid shell disposed in the first gasket recess, the proximal rigid shell including a first engagement surface;
    a distal rigid shell disposed in the second gasket recess, the distal rigid shell including a second engagement surface; and
    a stopper joined with the gasket and disposed in the gap, the stopper disposed between the first and second engagement surfaces,
    wherein the first and second engagement surfaces engage the stopper when the pad reconfigures from a flexed mode to an extended mode to prevent a user's digit in the thumb protector from hyperextending.
US13827788 2012-05-23 2013-03-14 Two-way protective pad construction Abandoned US20130312152A1 (en)

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US13827788 US20130312152A1 (en) 2012-05-23 2013-03-14 Two-way protective pad construction
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US20150216240A1 (en) * 2014-01-31 2015-08-06 Bauer Hockey Corp. Stretchable strap having a padding element
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GB2546721A (en) * 2015-11-05 2017-08-02 Impact Tech Labs Ltd A structure to absorb, dissipate and measure a force
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Owner name: WARRIOR SPORTS, INC., MICHIGAN

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:PAUL, MICHEL S.;JAJKO, OLIVIER C.;ARPIN, VINCENT;REEL/FRAME:030060/0039

Effective date: 20130318