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Patent: To Position Yourself Properly Before Contact
Patent: To Position Yourself Properly Before Contact | aust_txbz, Mike Olivarez, Pflugerville, patent, 8201277, posture aid, contact sports, football,

Mike Olivarez of Pflugerville, Texas, recently received U.S. Patent 8,201,277 for “Posture Aid for Contact Sports.”

Texas Business Patent of the Day: Proper Posture is not just a matter of etiquette. It's a way to prevent  sports injuries.  Texas man developed a device to encourage proper posture for playing football.

Mike Olivarez of Pflugerville, Texas, recently received U.S. Patent 8,201,277 for “Posture Aid for Contact Sports.”

Olivarez applied for the patent almost three years ago on August 14, 2009.

His invention relates in general to a posture aid for use with a protective helmet, such as a football helmet, that promotes proper posture for contact during a sport activity, according to the patent documents.

Some contact sports, and in particular the sport of American football, require that participants wear protective helmets in order to protect the participants' heads from injuries. Currently, football helmets used in American football have a rigid polycarbonate alloy outer shell, a cushioning liner within the shell, a faceguard, and a chin strap to secure the helmet to the participant's head. 

While football helmets protect participants from certain types of head injuries, the very protection provided by the rigidity of the football helmet and the cushioning provided by the liner can lead both offensive and defensive players to consciously or subconsciously initiate contact with an opposing player using their helmets.

Injury resulting from such contact, while statistically infrequent, can be severe and result in spinal injury or paralysis. Consequently, coaches following best practices train their players to overcome the natural reflex to drop their heads prior to impact and to make contact in a proper "heads up" posture. 

In addition to verbal instruction and contact drills, specially designed motion-restricting training devices can be used in practice situations to restrain players from assuming head and neck positions that are more likely to result in injury. Such motion restricting devices typically employ one or more rigid motion-restricting struts or brackets that rigidly or semi-rigidly link the back or bottom of the helmet to the player's shoulder pads.

Known motion restricting training devices generally require expensive, specially designed helmets and/or shoulder pads and can be time consuming to install and remove. Such specially designed motion-restricting training devices generally do not meet the equipment regulations for protective equipment promulgated by the sport's governing bodies. The expense and difficulty generally associated with using conventional motion-restricting training devices also discourage their use, leaving players vulnerable to injury. 

Olivarez’ invention is a posture aid apparatus that includes a protective helmet having a shell including a face opening and a crown, a strap bracket coupled to the shell intermediate the face opening and the crown, and at least one strap coupled to the strap bracket.

At least one strap has a first connector adapted to be coupled to a first shoulder pad of a pair of shoulder pads and a second connector adapted to be coupled to a second shoulder pad of the pair of shoulder pads, such that proper posture for contact is promoted.