(19)
(11)EP 3 419 455 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
04.11.2020 Bulletin 2020/45

(21)Application number: 17706262.7

(22)Date of filing:  23.02.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A42B 3/00(2006.01)
A42B 3/12(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2017/054211
(87)International publication number:
WO 2017/144600 (31.08.2017 Gazette  2017/35)

(54)

PROTECTIVE HEADGEAR

SCHÜTZENDE KOPFBEDECKUNG

CASQUE DE PROTECTION


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 25.02.2016 EP 16157331
17.10.2016 EP 16194145

(43)Date of publication of application:
02.01.2019 Bulletin 2019/01

(73)Proprietor: Contego Sports Limited
Oranmore, County Galway (IE)

(72)Inventor:
  • GANLY, Mark
    Kinvara County Galway (IE)

(74)Representative: John A. O'Brien & Associates 
Shannon Lodge Casement Road Bandon
County Cork, P72 TN24
County Cork, P72 TN24 (IE)


(56)References cited: : 
DE-A1- 2 746 897
US-A1- 2001 011 388
US-A1- 2014 331 391
US-A- 5 930 841
US-A1- 2013 000 017
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Introduction



    [0001] There is a lack of consensus amongst the sports, scientific and clinical communities concerning terminology for the clinical syndromes associated with trauma to the brain. The term Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is often used interchangeably with Concussion. It is defined as an injury to the head that results in clinically-recognisable somatic, cognitive and emotional symptoms. It does not necessarily result in loss-of-consciousness (LOC) (Kaufman, 2013). Concussion and head injuries are a major problem in high impact sports. There is a common consensus among medical experts that G-Force energy transferred to a player's head during impact; is one of the major factors in sports-induced brain injury.

    [0002] US2013/000017A describes an impact liner system for a helmet shell.

    [0003] DE2746897 describes a crash helmet with soft polyurethane foam lining bonded to the outer shell of elastic polyurethane.

    [0004] US2014/331391A describes a protective head guard assembly for use in sports such as rugby.

    [0005] US2001/011388A describes a soccer helmet.

    [0006] The Rugby Football Union (RFU) Injury audit for the 2015/16 season, showed that for the fifth consecutive season, concussion was the most common injury sustained by players in the English Premiership Rugby, constituting 25% of all match injuries. There were 113 match concussions. 17% of the players included in the study sustained 1 or more match concussions, with 86% of them occurring during match play. Source: http://www.englandrugby.com/mm/Document/General/General/01/32/25/17/1516_PRISP_Annu al_Report_FINAL(withcontentspage)_English.pdf

    [0007] Concussion is a very serious issue which has gained significant public attention and has become the most troublesome injury facing sports medicine physicians, rugby players and World Rugby, alike. The frequency and the impact of concussion-related problems have instigated the investigation of the effect of repeated concussion on the long term health and safety of players.

    [0008] Protective headgear in rugby is commonly referred to as a 'Scrum Cap'. Scrum caps are intended to prevent cuts, abrasions and cauliflower ears.

    [0009] Currently available scrum caps are governed by World Rugby Regulation 12 (last updated January 3, 2017).

    [0010] The World Rugby Regulations specify that a player may wear headgear made of soft and thin materials provided, that no part of the headgear is thicker than 1cm when uncompressed, and that no part of the headgear has a density of more than 45 kilograms per cubic metre. However, known headgear only offer minimal impact protection and do not reduce the incidence of concussion.

    [0011] While Rugby headgear is intended to provide protection, concussions are still prevalent in the sport. A 2011 study of 4000 players funded by the International Rugby Board (IRB) found that current headgear "might prevent superficial grazes but it won't prevent concussions". (Reference: http://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/rugby/medical-study-finds-scrum-caps-fail-to-prevent-head-injuries-177733.html)

    [0012] In addition to lack of impact protection there are several additional problems with conventional scrum caps which have been identified by players. Some of these problems are:
    • players feel too hot wearing them
    • affected player's hearing
    • affected player's peripheral vision
    • uncomfortable, badly fitted, etc.


    [0013] Rugby players need to be able to hear referees and team mates throughout play, they also need to be able to see clearly and move with speed.

    [0014] The technical problem of achieving adequate protection from concussion to the player, combined with the practical requirements of a rugby player, has not as yet been met.

    [0015] This invention is directed towards providing rugby headgear protection which will address at least some of these problems.

    Statements of Invention



    [0016] According to the invention there is provided rugby headgear as defined in claim 1.

    [0017] In one case the intermediate section comprises an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam having a density of from 150 to 250 kg/m3, the intermediate section may comprise an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam having a density of about 190kg/m3.

    [0018] The inner layer may comprise open cell polyurethane foam. The inner foam layer may be of an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam having a density of from 100 to 300 kg/m3, a density of from 150 to 250 kg/m3, or a density of about 190kg/m3.

    [0019] In one embodiment the inner open cell foam layer has a first thickness and the outer open cell foam section has a second thickness which is greater than the first thickness.

    [0020] In one case the second thickness is from 1.5 to 5 times the first thickness, from 1.5 to 3 times the first thickness. The second thickness may be about 2 times the first thickness. In one case the inner layer is 3mm in thickness and the intermediate section pieces are 6mm in thickness.

    [0021] In one embodiment the inner foam layer is perforated. The inner foam layer in some cases comprises from 3 to 5 holes per cm2. The holes may be from 2 to 4 mm in diameter.

    [0022] In one embodiment the inner layer comprises a wicking fabric bonded to the inner layer of open cell foam.

    [0023] The outer foam layer comprises a plurality of spaced-apart foam pieces.

    [0024] The outer barrier layer comprises a plurality of pockets.

    [0025] The intermediate section comprises foam pieces and the outer barrier layer pockets are configured to receive the foam pieces.

    [0026] The outer barrier layer may comprise closed cell foam.

    [0027] In one case the outer barrier layer comprises a polyethylene closed cell foam.

    [0028] In one embodiment an outer fabric is bonded to the barrier layer.

    [0029] Each side part of the main body may comprise a plurality of through holes for alignment with a wearers ears. Each side part of the main body may comprise a mounting for a chin strap. The chin strap is replaceable.

    [0030] In one case each side part comprises a lace hole reinforcement part at a side edge thereof.

    [0031] Also described is protective headgear in which the main body comprises a pair of side head parts connected by a forehead part, the main body being configured to wrap around the sides, back and forehead of the wearer. The body may be configured to wrap around the head above the ears. Each side part may comprise a lace hole reinforcement part at a side edge thereof.

    [0032] Also described is protective headgear in which the main body comprises a pair of side head parts connected by a forehead part, the main body being configured to wrap around the sides, back and forehead of the wearer. The side head parts and forehead part may be further connected by a material such as fabric on the crown of the wearer. The material may form a cross shape, having a first portion extending between the front and back of the main body, and a second portion extending between each side of the main body.

    [0033] In one case each side part of the main body has a thickness greater than the remainder of the body. Each side part of the main body may comprise a plurality of through holes for alignment with a wearers ears. Each side part of the main body may comprise a mounting for a chin strap. The chin strap is preferably replaceable. Each side part may comprise a lace hole reinforcement part at a side edge thereof.

    [0034] The main body comprises a pair of side head parts connected by a forehead part and a crown part extending from the forehead part, the main body being shaped to encompass the head of a wearer. Each side part of the main body may have a thickness greater than the remainder of the body. Each side part of the main body may comprise a plurality of through holes for alignment with a wearers ears. Each side part of the main body may comprise a mounting for a chin strap. The chin strap is preferably replaceable. Each side part may comprise a lace hole reinforcement part at a side edge thereof.

    [0035] In the protective headgear of the invention, G-Force energy transferred to a wearers head during impact is significantly reduced. G-Force energy transferred to a wearers head during impact in some cases is less than 150, less than 120.

    [0036] The protective headgear comprises a main body, comprising an inner layer, an outer barrier layer, and an intermediate section of impact resistant foam between the inner and the outer layers. The intermediate section comprises an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam. The open cell polyurethane foam has a density of from 100 to 300 kg/m3. The inner layer is of a wicking material. In one embodiment the intermediate section comprises an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam having a density of from 150 to 250 kg/m3

    [0037] In one case the inner layer comprises a sheet of open cell polyurethane foam. In one case the inner layer is of an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam having a density of from 150 to 250 kg/m3.

    [0038] In a preferred embodiment the inner foam layer is perforated. The inner foam sheet in one case comprises from 3 to 5 holes per cm2. The holes are typically from 2 to 4 mm in diameter.

    [0039] In one embodiment the inner layer comprises a wicking fabric bonded to the inner layer of open cell foam.

    [0040] The outer barrier layer comprises a plurality of pockets. The intermediate foam section comprises portions inserted into the pockets.

    [0041] In one embodiment the outer barrier layer comprises closed cell foam. The outer barrier layer in one case comprises a polyethylene closed cell foam. In one case an outer fabric is bonded to the outer barrier layer which may be of a closed cell foam.

    [0042] In one embodiment the inner open cell foam layer has a first thickness and the outer open cell foam section has a second thickness which is greater than the first thickness. The second thickness in one case is from 1.5 to 5 times the first thickness, typically the second thickness is from 1.5 to 3 times the first thickness. In one case the second thickness is about 2 times the first thickness.

    [0043] The main body is shaped to encompass the head of a wearer and comprises a pair of side head parts connected by a forehead part and a crown part extending from the forehead part.

    [0044] In one embodiment each side part of the main body comprises a plurality of through holes for alignment with a wearers ears.

    [0045] In one case each side part of the main body comprises a mounting for a chin strap. Preferably the chin strap is replaceable.

    [0046] In one embodiment each side part comprises a lace hole reinforcement part at a side edge thereof.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0047] The invention will be more clearly understood from the following description of an embodiment thereof, given by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

    Figs. 1 to 7 are elevational views of protective headgear such as rugby headgear according to the invention;

    Fig. 8 is a plan view of an assembly used to form the headgear;

    Fig. 9 is a plan view of side parts of the headgear;

    Fig. 10 is an exploded view of the side parts of the headgear;

    Fig. 11 is a plan view of an exterior element of the side parts;

    Fig. 12 is a plan view of a perforated foam element of the side parts;

    Fig. 13 is an enlarged view of a detail of the perforated foam element of the side parts;

    Fig. 14 is an enlarged view of an assembly of the outer layer, open cell foam elements and the perforated foam element of the side parts;

    Fig. 15 is a plan view of a crown part of the headgear;

    Fig. 16 is an exploded view of the crown part of the headgear;

    Fig 17 is a plan view of an exterior element of the crown part;

    Fig. 18 is a plan view of the perforated foam element of the crown part;

    Fig. 19 is a series of views of a chinstrap of the headgear;

    Fig. 20 is a view of a lace-hole reinforcement patch of the headgear;

    Fig. 21 is a view of a strap-reinforcement patch of the headgear;

    Fig. 22 is an exploded view of the crown part of rugby headgear according to the invention;

    Fig. 23 is a micrograph of the open cell foam used in the headgear of the invention;

    Fig. 24 is a bar chart of hind-leg foot-slips;

    Fig. 25 is a bar chart of time to cross beam;

    Fig. 26 is a bar chart of distance travelled;

    Fig. 27 is a bar chart of NEFL Levels;

    Fig. 28 is a bar chart of TNF-α Levels;

    Fig. 29 is a bar chart of impact test results for drop testing;

    Fig. 30 is a chart of test results for Rotational Acceleration testing;

    Fig. 31 is a side view of protective headgear such as soccer headgear;

    Fig. 32 is a plan view of protective headgear such as soccer headgear;

    Fig. 33 is an elevational view of protective headgear such as boxing headgear;

    Fig. 34 is a plan view of protective headgear such as boxing headgear;

    Fig. 35 is an elevational view of protective headgear such as mixed martial arts headgear; and

    Fig. 36 is a plan view of protective headgear such as mixed martial arts headgear.


    Detailed Description



    [0048] We describe rugby scrum caps which have the benefit of initially appearing not dissimilar to a typical rugby scrum cap. In various embodiments, it is not significantly thicker, allows for adequate hearing and visibility, and significantly reduces a major risk factor in sports induced mTBI/concussion to the player, impacts to the head.

    [0049] In order to achieve the protection required to the head in order to reduce the risk of mTBI/concussion, it has been found that an increased density of the scrum cap is required. This is achieved by a combination of materials.

    [0050] The headgear of the invention has showed a vast improvement for impact performance on known scrum caps. The headgear of the invention reduces the incidence and/or severity of significant alterations in clinically measurable mTBI indicators (both behavioural and neurological blood biomarkers) and thereby enhances player's performance and maximises their safety. The headgear of the invention significantly reduces the G-Force of linear and rotational impacts transferred to the player's head.

    [0051] Referring to the drawings and initially to Figs. 1 to 21 thereof there is illustrated protective headgear according to the invention which is rugby headgear. The headgear comprises a main body 1 which encompasses a wearer's head. The main body 1 has side head parts 2, 3 connected by a forehead part 4 and a crown part 5 extending from the forehead part 4. The crown part 5 may be formed separately from the side and forehead parts and subsequently joined to the forehead part 4, for example by stitching.

    [0052] Each part of the main body 1 comprises a number of layers. There is an inner foam layer 10 of an open cell polyurethane foam material. The inner foam layer 10 comprises a sheet of foam which is perforated with a plurality of holes 12, preferably from about 3 to 5 holes per cm2. The holes assist in wicking away sweat generated by the wearer and are preferably from 2 to 4 mm in diameter. A wicking fabric such as Nylon wicking fabric 11 is bonded, for example using a suitable adhesive, to the wearer engaging face of the inner perforated foam sheet 10.

    [0053] The inner foam layer provides additional impact protection to the head protector. The perforated holes also assist in reducing the heat of the player's head by helping the sweat to be drawn away from the player's head. The perforated holes also assist in reducing the overall mass of the head protector.

    [0054] The main body 1 also comprises an outer barrier layer 13 which in this case is of a closed cell foam material such as a polyethylene foam. The outer barrier layer 13 is formed to provide a plurality of outwardly facing pockets 14. An outer fabric 15 such as a stretch Nylon is bonded to the external face of the barrier foam layer 13 in a suitable manner, for example using a hot melt adhesive. The headgear has a soft rather than a hard shell.

    [0055] The barrier layer 13 is moulded to form the pockets 14 that hold intermediate foam pieces 21 in place. The outer barrier layer 13 can be made from a closed cell polyethylene foam that is waterproof to prevent excess rain and moisture from entering the head protector, in use. This ensures that the mass of the head protector does not increase in wet conditions and remains comfortable for a player.

    [0056] An intermediate section 20 of an open cell polyurethane foam material is provided between the outer barrier layer 13 and the inner layer. In this case, the intermediate foam section 20 comprises a plurality of portions / pieces 21 which are sized to engage in the pockets 14 of the outer barrier/layer 13.

    [0057] The open cell foam of both the internal foam layer and the intermediate foam section is an impact resistant polyurethane foam which consists of a branched polyether-based polyol and a chain extender. The foam has a density in the range of from 100 to 300 kg/m3, preferably from 150 to 250 kg/m3, most preferably about 190kg/m2. Such foams are available from suppliers including Dow Automotive, Dow Corning, Rogers Corporation, Sorbothane Inc., and DuPont.

    [0058] The intermediate foam section 20 provides the majority of the impact protection of the product. The foam has a relatively low density which ensures that the head protector is lightweight. The foam is soft to touch which makes it comfortable to wear on the head. The softness of the foam also facilitates profiling to the contours of the head during manufacturing. Unlike crushable foams that are commonly used in sports helmets the foam 20 is able to recover from multiple impacts, to give impact protection throughout a game. Studies have shown that the average number of impacts to the head in a game of rugby is 77.

    [0059] The headgear of the invention dissipates the impact energy through the cellular microstructure of the open cell foam used in the construction of the headgear. The open cell foam may have hard and soft segments. The soft segments absorb and dissipate the energy of the impact. The hard segments provide rigidity, shape and form to the foam. A typical micrograph of the open cell foam is illustrated in Fig. 23.

    [0060] The inner open cell perforated foam sheet 10 has a first thickness and the intermediate open cell foam section pieces 21 have a second thickness which is greater than the first thickness, in the order of 1.5 to 5 times, preferably from 1.5 to 3, typically about 2 times greater in order to minimise the weight of the head protector. In one case the perforated foam sheet 10 is 3mm in thickness and the foam section pieces 21 are 6mm in thickness.

    [0061] The side head parts 2, 3 have a plurality of through holes 30 for alignment with a wearers ears to ensure that the headgear does not interfere with the wearer's hearing. Each side part 2, 3 also comprises a slot 35 for mounting a chin strap 40 to the headgear. In the invention, the chinstrap is replaceable. The advantage is that if the stickiness of the Velcro declines due to wear and tear in use, the chinstrap may be replaced without having to replace the head protector. There are also reinforcement pieces 36 for re-enforcing the headgear in the region of the chin strap holes 35. Each of the side parts 2, 3 also has a lace hole reinforcement part 39 at a side edge thereof, through which a lace 45 is led as shown, for example in Fig. 7. The lace 45 allows the size of the headgear to be adjusted to suit a wearer.

    [0062] To manufacture protective headgear according to the invention an outer fabric layer is laminated to a sheet of polyethylene foam which is used to form the outer barrier layer 13. The laminate is then moulded to provide a plurality of pockets 14. The laminate is die cut to provide the crown 5 and side parts 2, 3 and forehead 4 shapes. The side parts 2, 3 and the forehead 4 parts are all formed as a single piece that wraps from your ear, around the forehead, to the other ear.

    [0063] A sheet of the closed cell polyurethane foam is then cut-out into pieces 21 which are shaped to conform to the pockets 21 formed in the barrier layer 13. The intermediate foam pieces 21 are inserted and bonded, for example, using an adhesive, into the pockets 21. The crown 5 and side parts 2,3,5 are then assembled together, for example by stitching. The strap 40 and laces 45 are attached to complete the protective headgear.

    [0064] Referring to Fig. 22 there is illustrated an exploded view of the crown part of protective headgear of the invention. This is similar to Fig. 16 and like parts are assigned the same reference numerals. The outer fabric layer 15 is included. The innermost liner is illustrated in two components 11a, 11b and combines hydrophilic and hydropholic sections to enable rapid absorption and quick release of moisture, for example, up to 40 times its own weight. The liner 11 may also incorporate an antibacterial agent for improved hygiene properties.

    [0065] The headgear of the invention reduces the incidence and/or severity of concussion and thereby enhances player's performance and maximises their safety.

    [0066] Players using the protective headgear will have improved long term health. The adverse effects of repeated impacts to the head are well known. Further, players will miss fewer games as concussion is the most common rugby injury sustained in matches

    [0067] The protective headgear of the invention significantly reduces the G-Force of linear and rotational impacts transferred to the player's head.

    [0068] Laboratory testing has showed a vast improvement for impact performance on known scrum caps.

    [0069] A pre-clinical animal study has also been completed. The data has demonstrated significant reductions of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) indicators (behavioural and biomarkers) in a neurological rodent model.

    Pre-Clinical Animal Study



    [0070] A pre-clinical animal study was carried out to validate the performance of the protective headgear of the invention in reducing the incidence of concussion.

    [0071] The protective headgear of the invention was used to protect rodent test subject skulls while subjected to a controlled impact. The study asked two questions:
    1. 1. Did the behaviour of the rodents, protected with the head protector, dramatically change after a controlled impact to the head?
    2. 2. Did the blood bio-markers, which are indicative of mTBI, of the rodents protected with the protective headgear, dramatically change after a controlled impact to the head?


    [0072] The objective of the study was to illustrate proof of concept evidence in a pre-clinical setting with a well validated TBI animal model. The model selected used a controlled impact mechanism, analogous to an impact received in the field of play, a well-characterized concussion pathophysiology and definitive clinical indicators that has close fidelity to concussion in humans. Recent publications have used this pre-clinical model and have established a correlation between TBI and clinical read-outs of pathology occurring within the brain such as blood biomarkers and altered gene expression profiles. Viano, D., A. Hamberger, A. Bolouri, and A. Saljo, Concussion in professional football: Animal model of brain injury - Part 15, Neurosurgery, 2009, 64, 1162-1173. Mychasiuk, R., Hehar, H., Ma, I., Candy, S., & Esser, MJ. (2016). The direction of the acceleration and rotational forces associates with mild traumatic brain injury in rodents effect behavioural and molecular outcomes. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 257, 168-178.

    1. Behavioural Analysis Results



    [0073] The protective headgear of the invention protected rats from concussions resulting from head impact occurring at 5 m/s (37g). The protective effects were evident in the behavioural measures examining balance, motor coordination, and exploratory locomotion.

    (a)Hind-Leg Foot-Slips



    [0074] Animals in the group that were protected with the protective headgear of the invention did not exhibit impairment in the number of foot-slips or time to cross a beam whereas both of these deficits were present in the non-protected group. See Fig. 24.

    (b)Time to Cross Beam



    [0075] Animals that had the protective headgear of the invention were indistinguishable from control animals regardless of the impact force, whereas animals without the protective headgear exhibited significant impairment (*p < 0.05). See Fig 25.

    (c) Distance Travelled



    [0076] Similar to hind-leg foot-slip findings, animals that experienced an impact at 37g but were protected with the protective headgear of the invention were indistinguishable from control animals. However, all other animals, exhibited significant impairment in the distance travelled over the 10-minute session. See Fig 26.

    [0077] The paths taken by the animals over the course of the 10-minute session were also recorded. Control animals and animals in the 37g group with the protective headgear of the invention travel further and explore the entire enclosure whereas other animals only investigate half of the arena.

    2. Blood Bio-Marker Analysis Results:



    [0078] The headgear of the invention protected rats from concussions resulting from head impact occurring at 5 m/s (37g). The protective effects were evident in the biomarker levels of TNF-α and NEFL at 3 hours' post-injury.

    (a) NEFL Levels



    [0079] The NEFL serum levels demonstrated significant increases in animals that did not have protection. The protective headgear of the invention prevented significant changes in NEF-L at this early time point for impacts, see Fig. 27.

    (b) TNF-α Levels



    [0080] The protective headgear of the invention prevented reductions in TNF-α at 3 hours' post-concussion in the 37g impact group (* p < .05), see Fig. 28.

    Linear Impact Testing



    [0081] Several rounds of impact drop testing were carried out to validate the performance of the protective headgear of the invention in reducing linear impact forces. The objectives of the impact drop tests were:
    1. i. Did the protective headgear of the invention reduce the linear impact force transmitted to a players' head?
    2. ii. Did the protective headgear of the invention reduce the linear impact force transmitted to a player's head better than existing rugby headguards on the market?

    (a) Impact Drop Test Results 1



    [0082] The first results of the Impact Drop Tests were that the protective headgear of the invention reduced the linear impact forces transmitted to a player's head. See Fig. 29.

    (b) Impact Drop Test Results 2



    [0083] The second results of the Impact Tests were that the protective headgear of the invention reduced the linear impact force transmitted to a player's head better than existing rugby headguards on the market. See Fig. 29.

    Rotational Acceleration Testing



    [0084] Several rounds of rotational acceleration testing were carried out to validate the performance of the protective headgear of the invention in reducing rotational impact forces when 2 players were tackling each other. The objective of the rotational acceleration tests were:
    1. 1. Did the protective headgear of the invention reduce the rotational acceleration of the headform, in a collision/tackle, when compared to players that are not wearing any head protectors?

    (a) Rotational Acceleration Test Results 1



    [0085] The results of the Rotational Acceleration Tests were that the protective headgear of the invention reduced the rotational acceleration of the headform, in a collision/tackle when compared to players that were not wearing any head protectors. See Fig. 30.
    1. i. When both head forms were protected with the protective headgear of the invention and tested at 2m/sec the average Rotational Acceleration was reduced by 55% when compared to two unprotected head forms.
    2. ii. When both head forms were protected with the protective headgear of the invention and tested at 3m/sec the average Rotational Acceleration was reduced by 38% when compared to two unprotected head forms.
    3. iii. When both head forms were protected with the protective headgear of the invention and tested at 4m/sec the average Rotational Acceleration was reduced by 30% when compared to two unprotected head forms.


    [0086] It will be appreciated that whilst the head protector of the invention reduces the incidence of concussion in rugby it also provides the basis for protective headgear across a range of other applications including other contact sports.

    [0087] Referring to Figs. 31 and 32 there is illustrated protective headgear which in this case is for use in playing soccer. The headgear comprises a main body 100 which wraps around the wearers head. The main body 100 has side head parts 102 and 103, which are connected by a forehead part 104. Each of the side parts 102, 103 also has a lace hole reinforcement part 105 at a side edge thereof, for connecting the side parts 102 and 103 to each other at the back of the head. This can be done with a lace, as described in previous embodiments, and secures the headgear to the head of the user. The construction of the various layers of the protective headgear of Figs. 31 and 32 is the same as that described above for Rugby headgear.

    [0088] Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, with more than 265 million players worldwide, including professional and amateur ones. There is growing evidence that heading a football can cause both short and long-term brain damage. Studies have shown that standard soccer heading results in immediate and measurable alterations in brain function. Changes in short and long term memory function and corticomotor inhibition are detectable immediately after soccer heading. [http://www.ebiomedicine.com/article/S2352-3964(16)30490-X/abstract]

    [0089] The protective headgear provides a solution to this problem by providing protective headgear that will still allow the user to play soccer but which will reduce the impact from the football transferred to the head.

    [0090] Referring to Figs. 33 and 34 there is illustrated the protective headgear which in this case is for use in boxing. The headgear comprises a main body 200 which encompasses the wearers head, but does not provide protection to the crown of the head as it is not required by the sport. The main body 200 has side head parts 202 and 203, which are connected by a forehead part 204. Side parts 202 and 203 are thicker than the remainder of the head gear in order to provide additional protection to the sides of the head which receive significant impacts. There is also a chin strap as in previous embodiments. Each side part 202, 203 also comprises a slot 205 for mounting a chin strap to the headgear. As in previous embodiments, the chinstrap is replaceable. Each of the side parts 202, 203 also has a lace hole reinforcement part 208 at a side edge thereof, for connecting the side parts 202 and 203 to each other at the back of the head. This can be done with a lace, as described in previous embodiments, and secures the headgear to the head of the user. Due to the nature of the sport, the headgear is further secured by a strap 206 connecting the sides 202 and 203 to each other and a further strap connecting the forehead part 204 to the back of the headgear. The construction of the various layers of the protective headgear of Figs. 33 and 34 is the same as that described for Rugby headgear.

    [0091] Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disease, which is associated with mild repetitive traumatic brain injury (TBI). This long-term and progressive symptom due to TBI was initially called punch-drunk syndrome or dementia pugilistica, since it was believed to be associated with boxing. However, serial neuropathological studies of mild repetitive TBI in the last decade have revealed that CTE occurs not only in boxers but also in a wider population including American football players, wrestlers, and military personnel. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27395469].

    [0092] Conventional protective headgear in boxing has the problems that it does not reduce the rates of TBI in boxers and it can obscure peripheral vision, making it harder to see when a blow is being aimed at the side of the head.

    [0093] The protective headgear provides a solution to these problems by reducing the impact from a punch transferred to the head. It also offers better peripheral vision for the wearer than conventional protective headgear in boxing.

    [0094] Referring to Figs. 35 and 36 there is illustrated protective headgear which in this case is used in mixed martial arts (MMA). The headgear comprises a main body 300 which encompasses a wearer's head. The main body 300 has side head parts 302, 303 connected by a forehead part 304 and a crown part 306 extending from the forehead part 304. Similarly to when used for boxing, the side parts 302 and 303 are thicker than the remainder of the head gear in order to provide additional protection to the sides of the head which receive significant impacts. Each of the side parts 302, 303 also has a lace hole reinforcement part 308 at a side edge thereof, for connecting the side parts 302 and 303 to each other at the back of the head. The construction of the various layers of the protective headgear of Figs. 35 and 36 is the same as that described for Rugby headgear.

    [0095] Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full combative sport with a recent global increase in popularity despite significant scrutiny from medical associations. Studies have shown that rates of knockouts (KOs) and technical knockouts (TKOs) in MMA, due to match-ending head trauma, are higher than previously reported rates in other combative and contact sports. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24658345]

    [0096] The protective headgear provides a solution to these problems by reducing the impact from a punch or kick transferred to the head. It also offers better peripheral vision for the wearer than conventional protective headgear in MMA. to TBI was initially called punch-drunk syndrome or dementia pugilistica, since it was believed to be associated with boxing. However, serial neuropathological studies of mild repetitive TBI in the last decade have revealed that CTE occurs not only in boxers but also in a wider population including American football players, wrestlers, and military personnel. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27395469].

    [0097] Conventional protective headgear in boxing has the problems that it does not reduce the rates of TBI in boxers and it can obscure peripheral vision, making it harder to see when a blow is being aimed at the side of the head.

    [0098] The protective headgear provides a solution to these problems by reducing the impact from a punch transferred to the head. It also offers better peripheral vision for the wearer than conventional protective headgear in boxing.

    [0099] Referring to Figs. 35 and 36 there is illustrated protective headgear which in this case is used in mixed martial arts (MMA). The headgear comprises a main body 300 which encompasses a wearer's head. The main body 300 has side head parts 302, 303 connected by a forehead part 304 and a crown part 306 extending from the forehead part 304. Similarly to when used for boxing, the side parts 302 and 303 are thicker than the remainder of the head gear in order to provide additional protection to the sides of the head which receive significant impacts. Each of the side parts 302, 303 also has a lace hole reinforcement part 308 at a side edge thereof, for connecting the side parts 302 and 303 to each other at the back of the head. The construction of the various layers of the protective headgear of Figs. 35 and 36 is the same as that described for Rugby headgear.

    [0100] Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full combative sport with a recent global increase in popularity despite significant scrutiny from medical associations. Studies have shown that rates of knockouts (KOs) and technical knockouts (TKOs) in MMA, due to match-ending head trauma, are higher than previously reported rates in other combative and contact sports. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24658345]

    [0101] The protective headgear provides a solution to these problems by reducing the impact from a punch or kick transferred to the head. It also offers better peripheral vision for the wearer than conventional protective headgear in MMA.


    Claims

    1. Rugby headgear comprising a main body (1) having a pair of side head parts (2, 3) connected by a forehead part (14) and a crown part (5) extending from the forehead part, the main body being configured to encompass the head of a wearer and comprising:-an inner layer (11) of wicking material;
    an outer barrier layer (13); and
    an intermediate section between the inner layer (11) of wicking material and the outer barrier layer (13), the intermediate section comprising:

    an inner foam layer (10); and

    an outer foam layer (20) comprising a plurality of spaced-apart foam pieces (21), wherein the inner and outer foam layers (10, 20) of the intermediate section comprise an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam having a density of from 100 to 300 kg/m3, and wherein

    the outer barrier layer (13) comprises a plurality of pockets (14) which are configured to receive the foam pieces (21) of the outer foam layer (20).
     
    2. Rugby headgear as claimed in claim 1 wherein the intermediate section inner foam layer (10) comprises an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam having a density of from 150 to 250 kg/m3
     
    3. Rugby headgear as claimed in claims 1 or 2 wherein the intermediate section inner foam layer (10) comprises an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam having a density of about 190kg/m3.
     
    4. Rugby headgear as claimed in any of claims 1 to 3 wherein the intermediate section outer foam layer (20) is of an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam having a density of from 150 to 250 kg/m3.
     
    5. Rugby headgear as claimed in any of claims 1 to 4 wherein the intermediate section outer foam layer (20) is of an impact resistant open cell polyurethane foam having a density of about 190kg/m3.
     
    6. Rugby headgear as claimed in any of claims 1 to 5 wherein the intermediate section inner foam layer (10) has a first thickness and the intermediate section outer foam layer (20) has a second thickness which is greater than the first thickness.
     
    7. Rugby headgear as claimed in claim 6 wherein the second thickness is from 1.5 to 5 times the first thickness.
     
    8. Rugby headgear as claimed in claim 6 or 7 wherein the second thickness is from 1.5 to 3 times the first thickness.
     
    9. Rugby headgear as claimed in any of claims 6 to 8 wherein the intermediate section inner layer (10) is about 3mm in thickness and the intermediate section outer foam layer (20) is about 6mm in thickness.
     
    10. Rugby headgear as claimed in any of claims 1 to 9 wherein the intermediate section inner foam layer (10) is perforated.
     
    11. Rugby headgear as claimed in any of claims 1 to 10 wherein the outer barrier layer (13) comprises closed cell foam.
     
    12. Rugby headgear as claimed in any of claims 1 to 11 comprising an outer fabric (15) bonded to the barrier layer.
     
    13. Rugby headgear as claimed in any of claims 1 to 12 wherein each side part (2, 3) of the main body (1) comprises a plurality of through holes (30) for alignment with a wearers ears.
     
    14. Rugby headgear as claimed in any of claims 1 to 13 wherein each side part (2, 3) of the main body (1) comprises a mounting (35) for a chin strap (40).
     
    15. Rugby headgear as claimed in any of claims 1 to 14 wherein G-Force energy transferred to a wearers head during impact is less than 150.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung, umfassend einen Hauptkörper (1) mit einem Paar Kopfseitenteile (2, 3), die mit einem Stirnteil (14) verbunden sind, und einen sich von dem Stirnteil erstreckenden Scheitelteil (5), wobei der Hauptkörper dazu konfiguriert ist, den Kopf eines Trägers zu umschließen, und Folgendes umfasst:

    eine innere Schicht (11) aus einem feuchtigkeitstransportierenden Material;

    eine äußere Sperrschicht (13); und

    einen Zwischenabschnitt zwischen der inneren Schicht (11) aus feuchtigkeitstransportierendem Material und der äußeren Sperrschicht (13), wobei der Zwischenabschnitt Folgendes umfasst:

    eine innere Schaumstoffschicht (10); und

    eine äußere Schaumstoffschicht (20), umfassend eine Vielzahl voneinander beabstandeter Schaumstoffstücke (21), wobei die innere und die äußere Schaumstoffschicht (10, 20) des Zwischenabschnitts einen schlagzähen offenzelligen Polyurethanschaumstoff mit einer Dichte von 100 bis 300 kg/m3 umfassen, und wobei

    die äußere Sperrschicht (13) eine Vielzahl von Taschen (14) umfasst, die dazu konfiguriert sind, die Schaumstoffstücke (21) der äußeren Schaumstoffschicht (20) aufzunehmen.


     
    2. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die innere Schaumstoffschicht (10) des Zwischenabschnitts einen schlagzähen offenzelligen Polyurethanschaumstoff mit einer Dichte von 150 bis 250 kg/m3 umfasst.
     
    3. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei die innere Schaumstoffschicht (10) des Zwischenabschnitts einen schlagzähen offenzelligen Polyurethanschaumstoff mit einer Dichte von etwa 190 kg/m3 umfasst.
     
    4. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei die äußere Schaumstoffschicht (20) des Zwischenabschnitts aus einem schlagzähen offenzelligen Polyurethanschaumstoff mit einer Dichte von 150 bis 250 kg/m3 ist.
     
    5. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei die äußere Schaumstoffschicht (20) des Zwischenabschnitts aus einem schlagzähen offenzelligen Polyurethanschaumstoff mit einer Dichte von etwa 190 kg/m3 ist.
     
    6. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei die innere Schaumstoffschicht (10) des Zwischenabschnitts eine erste Dicke aufweist und die äußere Schaumstoffschicht (20) des Zwischenabschnitts eine zweite Dicke aufweist, die größer ist als die erste Dicke.
     
    7. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach Anspruch 6, wobei die zweite Dicke das 1,5- bis 5-fache der ersten Dicke beträgt.
     
    8. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach Anspruch 6 oder 7, wobei die zweite Dicke das 1,5- bis 3-fache der ersten Dicke beträgt.
     
    9. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach einem der Ansprüche 6 bis 8, wobei die innere Schicht (10) des Zwischenabschnitts eine Dicke von etwa 3 mm aufweist und die äußere Schaumstoffschicht (20) des Zwischenabschnitts eine Dicke von etwa 6 mm aufweist.
     
    10. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, wobei die innere Schaumstoffschicht (10) des Zwischenabschnitts perforiert ist.
     
    11. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei die äußere Sperrschicht (13) geschlossenzelligen Schaumstoff umfasst.
     
    12. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 11, umfassend einen äußeren Textilstoff (15), der an die Sperrschicht geklebt ist.
     
    13. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12, wobei die Seitenteile (2, 3) des Hauptkörpers (1) jeweils eine Vielzahl von Durchgangslöchern (30) zur Deckung mit den Ohren eines Trägers umfassen.
     
    14. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 13, wobei die Seitenteile (2, 3) des Hauptkörpers (1) jeweils eine Befestigung (35) für einen Kinnriemen (40) umfassen.
     
    15. Rugby-Kopfbedeckung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 14, wobei die während eines Stoßes auf den Kopf eines Trägers übertragene Energie von Beschleunigungskräften weniger als 150 beträgt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Casque de rugby comportant un corps principal (1) ayant une paire de parties tête latérales (2, 3) reliées par une partie front (14) et une partie couronne (5) s'étendant depuis la partie front, le corps principal étant configuré pour recouvrir la tête d'un utilisateur et comportant :

    une couche intérieure (11) en matériau à effet de mèche ;

    une couche barrière extérieure (13) ; et

    une section intermédiaire entre la couche intérieure (11) en matériau à effet de mèche et la couche barrière extérieure (13), la section intermédiaire comportant :

    une couche intérieure en mousse (10) ; et

    une couche extérieure en mousse (20) comportant une pluralité de morceaux en mousse espacés les uns des autres (21), dans lequel les couches intérieure et extérieure en mousse (10, 20) de la section intermédiaire comportent une mousse polyuréthanne à alvéoles ouverts résistante aux chocs ayant une densité allant de 100 à 300 kg/m3, et dans lequel

    la couche barrière extérieure (13) comporte une pluralité de poches (14) qui sont configurées pour recevoir les morceaux en mousse (21) de la couche extérieure en mousse (20).


     
    2. Casque de rugby selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la couche intérieure en mousse (10) de la section intermédiaire comporte une mousse polyuréthanne à alvéoles ouverts résistante aux chocs ayant une densité allant de 150 à 250 kg/m3.
     
    3. Casque de rugby selon la revendication 1 ou la revendication 2, dans lequel la couche intérieure en mousse (10) de la section intermédiaire comporte une mousse polyuréthanne à alvéoles ouverts résistante aux chocs ayant une densité d'environ 190 kg/m3.
     
    4. Casque de rugby selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, dans lequel la couche extérieure en mousse (20) de la section intermédiaire est en mousse polyuréthanne à alvéoles ouverts résistante aux chocs ayant une densité allant de 150 à 250 kg/m3.
     
    5. Casque de rugby selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel la couche extérieure en mousse (20) de la section intermédiaire est en mousse polyuréthanne à alvéoles ouverts résistante aux chocs ayant une densité d'environ 190 kg/m3.
     
    6. Casque de rugby selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, dans lequel la couche intérieure en mousse (10) de la section intermédiaire a une première épaisseur et la couche extérieure en mousse (20) de la section intermédiaire a une deuxième épaisseur qui est supérieure par rapport à la première épaisseur.
     
    7. Casque de rugby selon la revendication 6, dans lequel la deuxième épaisseur fait de 1,5 à 5 fois la première épaisseur.
     
    8. Casque de rugby selon la revendication 6 ou la revendication 7, dans lequel la deuxième épaisseur fait de 1,5 à 3 fois la première épaisseur.
     
    9. Casque de rugby selon l'une quelconque des revendications 6 à 8, dans lequel la couche intérieure (10) de la section intermédiaire fait environ 3 mm d'épaisseur et la couche extérieure en mousse (20) de la section intermédiaire fait environ 6 mm d'épaisseur.
     
    10. Casque de rugby selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, dans lequel la couche intérieure en mousse (10) de la section intermédiaire est perforée.
     
    11. Casque de rugby selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, dans lequel la couche barrière extérieure (13) comporte de la mousse à alvéoles fermés.
     
    12. Casque de rugby selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 11, comportant un tissu extérieur (15) collé à la couche barrière.
     
    13. Casque de rugby selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12, dans lequel chaque partie latérale (2, 3) du corps principal (1) comporte une pluralité de trous traversants (30) à des fins d'alignement sur les oreilles d'un utilisateur.
     
    14. Casque de rugby selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 13, dans lequel chaque partie latérale (2, 3) du corps principal (1) comporte un élément de montage (35) pour une mentonnière (40).
     
    15. Casque de rugby selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 14, dans lequel l'énergie de la force d'accélération transférée à la tête d'un utilisateur au cours d'un impact est inférieure à 150.
     




    Drawing




























































































    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description




    Non-patent literature cited in the description