Dynamic box collars

Discussion about ways to make the sport safer and discussion of past injuries so we can learn how to avoid them in the future.
jerry hock
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Dynamic box collars

Unread postby jerry hock » Thu Nov 06, 2014 4:41 pm

I recently wrote a reply on the "Let's talk box collars" subject thread and then realized that with it being on page 4, it might not get any readers. My intention was to start a discussion relating to dynamic box collars. In particular to describe my invention, and hopefully convince many of you that the idea of a post plant pad vs. the static collar does not have to be an either or.

My latest design is simply a one sided pad that deploys following the pole plant. It falls to cover the slide area of the box. It is made of 2" thick closed cell foam, identical to the composite in the approved box collars. It is just 2" is because it is engineered to bridge the plant box and rest on both sides of the Safety Max or Gil cantilever collar. In the event of a vaulter falling into the box the 'Angel Wing' pad would collapse into the box. This bridge design gives the pad a much lower HIC value that even the 1150 of the 4" present approved full collar.

Another interesting fact is that we will be offering the 'Angel Wing' as a supplement to the present approved collars. We will not seek any kind of mandate or ASTM standard or approval. The use of our supplemental pad will be entirely the option of the coach, the school, club or individual. Any coach or parent who can see the benefit of covering the largest open area of exposed steel with an easy to attach, easy to operate one sided dynamic pad will want to add one of these to their pit. My hope is that the pole vault community will see the pads in operation and want one for their school or club.
I am presently testing the final prototype and will be posting videos to youtube. I am taking the 'Angel Wing to the Hurricane Invitational on Nov. 15 and plan to get plenty of pictures.

Our manufacturing of these new supplemental pads is in place and ready for the first orders. We are looking at early February to begin or national sales.

If you have any questions or wish to view the patent drawings or the still pictures that are available now, just email me at jerryhock@hotmail.com

Thanks for all the help to so many people who helped make these pads a reality. Thanks to Bruce Caldwell for his continued support and innovations.
Jerry Hock

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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby KirkB » Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:04 pm

Hey Jerry,

Congratulations on all the progress you've been making on this important topic.

Last we spoke, you had a prototype like this:

http://www.polevaultpower.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=30167&p=178436&hilit=jerry+hock#p178436.

But this was from last May (2013).

Can you post a short vid of how the device has now evolved?

A picture is worth a thousand words!

Keep up the good work! :yes:

Kirk
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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby jerry hock » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:26 pm

Kirk,
When I speak of all those who have helped me during the last few years, your name would be at the top. It was your idea for the cantilever collar that got me rejuvenated and helped me visualize some of the designs that I worked on. The pics you show are of Bruce's 'Bodyguard' two sided dynamic pad. Bruce was a great inspiration to me when he came back from a safety conference in Italy about 3 years ago and called to ask me if he could pursue work that I had began on a pad for the plant box that would activate to cover the entire box (excepting the bend cavity). Of course I was happy to see him excited to take one of my original ideas and create a new system. I began working with him and helped develop his activator. The two sided design was his concept.
I was working for the last couple years trying to mechanize his system. We both worked with magnets, solenoids, light duty motors and even remote control but nothing ever proved feasible. Bruce was eventually able to operate his pads with air pressure but I don't believe it was cost effective.
Then we discovered that the ASTM had passed a standard on the Johnson/Gil static pad. Bruce was naturally upset when his design was not considered in the standard. You are probably aware of the politics and in fighting that has taken place over the past couple years as the box collar standard has become mandated and neither Bruce's design or my early one sided designs were approved.
Following last years defeat of the ballot to withdraw the present standard and after spending the better part of the year working on a revision standard, I conceded.
I was after all pleased that progress was made in making the plant box more safe. The static design does have merit and my only hard objection had been the wings. When UCS was able to get approved for their cantilever style collar, this basically ended my feud with the ASTM leadership.
I then turned my attention back to my original idea. How can we protect the other 80% of the plant box. The answer is only through the deployment of a post plant pad. I decided that I would not try to make a full collar or one that would have to meet any specific ASTM collar guidelines and I set out to build a supplemental pad. My idea was to make my pad attach easily to the existing approved collars. The use of my supplemental pad would be optional. I believe I have made a simple easy to operate pad that fulfills the requirement of providing an extra level of safety in an area where none now exists.
Your inspiration and exchange of ideas over the past few years have meant so much to me. I still believe you had the idea for the cantilever pad. I explored a static system and even drew the cantilever pads into a provisional patent in 2013 but since have abandoned it for the 'Angel Wing'
I am going to email you the 3 pictures I have of my prototype. We went to WCU but the season had not yet begun and they did not even have their Safety Max out. I am going to Charlie Polhamus' meet next week with my pad and promise to get lots of video.
Thank again for your response, expertise and input.
Regards,
Jerry

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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby KirkB » Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:46 pm

Very interesting new design!

I will wait for you to reveal it after Charlie's meet. :yes:

We did toss around a bunch of alternate designs re a dynamic box collar, but I don't recall that your "final" design (cantilever collar) was mine alone. You have much better stamina than me on this project, and I think you're on the right track! I put "final" in quotes, because we both know that an inventor tinkers forever! :D

I especially like that your proposed safety device is an add-on to an approved standard (instead of trying to get approval for your new design). The way I look at this is that if the meet host is already using an approved box collar, then your safety device is just added safety.

Those are the pros. As far as the cons are concerned, there will be some people that don't like the idea of the trip-wire (string). Although it won't interfere at all with the motion of the pole rolling to vertical, I expect some vaulters and coaches not liking this. So maybe your device won't be used in major meets, but if it's at least used in high school meets and practices (HS and college), then that's a great advancement towards a safer landing system! :yes:

What I don't like about currently commercial landing systems (including static box collars - as you've mentioned - Jan's design included, which I like a lot!) is that they don't protect a vaulter landing IN THE BOX. And of all places that a vaulter might land (no matter how BIG and WIDE you make the pit), when a vaulter stalls out, he usually stalls out DIRECTLY ABOVE that dang box!

This is another way of saying that (IMHO) some front aprons are ridiculously HUGE, but do nothing towards protecting the vaulter from landing in the most likely spot where he's going to land - THE BOX! :confused:

I'd prefer that pit manufacturers (and those that buy their products) put more $ and design ingenuity) into protection IN THE BOX, rather than wasting money on HUGE front buns.

You may need a few more iterations on your final design, but I really do think you're on the right path! :yes:

Kirk
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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby jerry hock » Sat Nov 08, 2014 2:15 pm

Kirk,
Just a quick note about the activation of my pad. I have developed a plastic flap that inserts between the box collar and the pit. It requires minimal pressure to pull on the pad This pull is about 10 degrees. Once the initial pull begins, the pad falls with gravity the final 80 . Knowing that even this slight pressure might be an issue for some, I also designed a manual deployment of the pad. This requires the coach or parent or assigned person to pull the cord after the vaulter plants the pole.
The idea of having the coach or parent pro actively involved in the process speaks to the many posts and comments that we have all seen during the entire box collar debate concerning better coaching being the solution. I believe that the coaches should be better trained and they could make a difference but even with the best coaching accidents do happen. I, like you am pleased that Jan took a giant leap and created the Safety Max. The soft box is another great idea ( although not cost effective). As you describe, even with the present collar, still a large open of cold hard steel area exists.
The more we can get everyone involved in the idea that it is possible to protect this area the better.
Thanks,
Jerry

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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby KirkB » Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:26 pm

jerry hock wrote: ... even with the best coaching accidents do happen.

... even with the present collar, still a large open of cold hard steel area exists.

The more we can get everyone involved in the idea that it is possible to protect this area the better.

:yes:

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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby AVC Coach » Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:28 am

I have developed a plastic flap that inserts between the box collar and the pit. It requires minimal pressure to pull on the pad



What happens when the flap is accidentally deployed before the vaulter actually plants the pole in the box?

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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby KirkB » Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:43 pm

AVC Coach wrote: What happens when the flap is accidentally deployed before the vaulter actually plants the pole in the box?

I will answer this for Jerry ...

It's a fair question, as all scenarios must be covered. However, when Jerry says "minimal pressure", he means "just the right amount of pressure". That is, it's not such a minimal amount of pressure that it can accidentally be deployed; and not so much pressure that it would be difficult to pull it. Inertia is at work here.

Another question might be: "What happens if someone accidentally runs across the runway in front of the vaulter?". It may sound unlikely, but it does happen, so that scenario must be covered too.

Kirk
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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby jerry hock » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:35 pm

Great question AVC,
Just as Kirk explained, with the mechanized trigger the pole must be planted and push the activator up before the pad will be pulled on and fall. This is the most fail safe way to deploy the pad. The reason I will offer the pad with a manual release is that I want to give the coach or parent the option of operating the pad. This would naturally defer some minimal responsibility on the coach or parent as they would need to be sure not to release the pad before the vaulter planted the pole. My reasoning for the manual activator was first to give the coach a pro active role in 'spotting' their vaulters. Secondly, I felt like the ability to simply pull a light cord after the vaulter plants the pole would be something someone would have to try hard to mess up. Still, I realize it could happen so we are testing this scenario this weekend at a meet in S. Georgia.
The reason someone would want to vault with the manual trigger is in the case where a vaulter felt that even the minimal pressure of the trigger would slow their pole rotation, or if they objected in principal to anything touching the pole during the vault.
I am certain that most "Angel Wings" will be used by the coaches as a spotting tool and therefore mainly use the manual trigger. Some clubs and parent may want to see the pad deployed on every jump and in those situations they will most likely leave the mechanical trigger attached.
Kirk has an ongoing commitment to plant box safety and he has made some additional design proposals that I am hoping to incorporate into my next prototype. Thanks to him for the help with your question.

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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby AVC Coach » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:24 am

Another question might be: "What happens if someone accidentally runs across the runway in front of the vaulter?". It may sound unlikely, but it does happen, so that scenario must be covered too.


It was a serious question, Kirk. There are a number of scenarios that could make the pole vault more dangerous. This thread is about a dynamic box collar that lends itself to human error. I think there could possibly be some liability issues involved with a manual safety collar:

1. Who's liable if the collar is deployed too early?
2. Who's liable if the collar is not deployed at all and the athlete gets seriously injured in the box?
3. Who's liable if the collar operator pulls the string and the collar fails, resulting in injury?
4. Who's liable if the collar is working properly but, due to lack of man power, it's not being used that particular day and an athlete gets injured?

I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but there's more to this idea than meets the eye.

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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby jerry hock » Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:58 pm

1. Who's liable if the collar is deployed too early?
2. Who's liable if the collar is not deployed at all and the athlete gets seriously injured in the box?
3. Who's liable if the collar operator pulls the string and the collar fails, resulting in injury?
4. Who's liable if the collar is working properly but, due to lack of man power, it's not being used that particular day and an athlete gets injured?

Liability is an issue that has haunted the pole vault for 100 years. Law suits and litigation have nearly ruined the sport as numerous schools and colleges have abandoned the event. My inventions have been aimed at making the sport safer.
I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability although I am not a lawyer, but I am the inventor and I have spoken to a few lawyers on the topic.

We will be offering the product with two deployment choices. The first being a light plastic trigger that activates just following the pole striking the back of the box. This trigger has worked well in our testing and is very reliable. Still, accidents do happen but since the pad is at rest leaning on the side of the front pit wing it is unlikely.
The chance that the operator may in error either deploy the pad too early, too late or not at all is simply something we can not have any control over. There is no fail safe should any one make a mistake and somebody get hurt.

The answers I am hearing from the legal advisers I have spoken with, tell me that if a product is sold with the intention and proven ability to make the event and activity a safer venue and that device meets or exceeds industry safety standards, such as HIC testing or GMAX, that the liability would be negligible. The person wanting to bring a suit against a coach, school or manufacturer would have to show INTENT to harm the victim. We feel confident in our product operating simply and easily. It would take an act of mischief or complete incompetence not to understand that the pad must be released AFTER the vaulter plants the pole.

In the case where you mention the pad not being deployed and the vaulter being injured is much the same as when someone gets hurt and they are not wearing their seat belt. The auto maker can not be held responsible for the drivers/passengers negligence.

I am on the task force for the ASTM box collar revision and I have heard several reports this last year of accidents involving the 'static' NCAA mandated box collar. Athletes have been striking the wing that hangs down inside the box. Many of us on the committee suggested over the past year that the wings could be a liability. The revised ASTM standard will address this by making the wings an option.

The issue with any new product, especially one which involves the prevention of injuries in an already dangerous sport is always concerned with the liability of that new product. We have designed our pad to offer more safety for the sport by covering the an entire area of cold hard steel that means certain serious injury or even death should a vaulter fall into the plant box. Schools have already begun having athletes sign liability waivers for sports teams and even extra curricular activities. I suppose this is what we are evolving toward in the US.

There is no STATIC SOLUTION for the slide area ( the largest open area ) of the box excepting a dynamic one.
We feel like our product is well designed and developed to operate simply and efficiently. Unfortunately, as stated before, accidents do happen and we can not know the result or the charge, but we feel confident that we are offering a product designed and engineered to prevent injuries not to cause them.

Thank you for you questions, I appreciate the opportunity to discuss these concerns.

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Re: Dynamic box collars

Unread postby KirkB » Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:49 pm

jerry hock wrote: We will be offering the product with two deployment choices. The first being a light plastic trigger that activates just following the pole striking the back of the box. This trigger has worked well in our testing and is very reliable. Still, accidents do happen but since the pad is at rest leaning on the side of the front pit wing it is unlikely.

I prefer the automated trigger over the manual one, because it's simpler. "Set it and forget it". In a training scenario, as each vaulter exits the pit, he merely resets the Angel Wing for the next vaulter in turn. This just takes a couple seconds, and it will be obvious to the next vaulter whether it's ready or not.

I see this as becoming very popular as a training tool, and (in due course) may become a popular in meets. However, I predict it will be the consent of the coaches involved (coaches that have had good success in their practices with the device) that will drive its usage in meets. Unlike box collars, I don't think you're going to see this mandated for any meets for a long, long time. Coaches will buy it because they WANT it for their vaulters!

During practices, most attempts are over a bungie, and whether the attempt is a make or a miss isn't so important, so I doubt that vaulters and coaches will be as particular about the pole touching the trigger as in a meet.

BUT vaulters and coaches should ALWAYS be particular about safety! :idea:

Kirk
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