Lacombe resident Chuck Bourn is excited to see momentum growing behind an innovative anti-sliding hockey jersey he has created to help reduce injuries.
Bourn explained that the jersey - which he calls ‘SafeSlide’ - is designed with a special microfibre blend to reduce or eliminate player injuries caused by sliding into boards or goalposts.
“Sliding into boards causes injuries at every level in both youth and adult hockey games,” said Bourn, who is working with the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre at the University of Calgary on a study of this problem.
And since the jersey has been patented, he’s also garnered the interest of major hockey uniform manufacturers in Canada and the U.S.
As he mentioned, the slide-resistant material cuts the length and speed of uncontrolled slides.
The jerseys would also help to reduce the severity of impacts and the injuries that often result from crashing into the boards. These run the gamut from concussions, and broken bones to spinal cord damage and other injuries.
Bourn has also had a video produced that shows an on-ice test of the jersey, and folks can view it on YouTube by searching ‘Safeslide’.
It compares sliding on ice in a regular jersey with sliding in the SafeSlide jersey, and the difference is unmistakable.
“I was watching a Stanley Cup play-off game a few years ago, and a player rushed the net. He fell, and slid into the boards behind the net head first,” he recalled. “Everybody rushed out there, they helped him off the ice. He went to the hospital and he did turn out to be okay.
“But as I watched that happen, I was thinking how bad it really was and there should be some way to help to prevent it. I then thought, what if their uniforms didn’t slide as easily on the ice? So that’s where it started.”
Bourn started researching, and he also called a friend who is a patent attorney to run the idea past him.
He sent the comparison video to his attorney, who promptly called him and was enthusiastic about developing a patent for the potentially ground-breaking invention.
As the patent was being put together, Bourn kept up with his research - exploring types of fabric to modify and improve the jersey.
In the meantime, he now has a patent for both the U.S. and Canada and has reached out to major jersey-producing companies who have in turn expressed interest.
“Players of course don’t want any excess weight or restrictions - it has to be breathable - so those factors do come into play,” he explained.
“I also decided that I should pursue some more research on the marketability of it. Is it a problem searching for an answer, or an answer searching for a problem?
“I later went to the University of Calgary’s Sports Injury Prevention Research Centre. They have quite a reputation for doing studies of sports injuries in general, and hockey is something that they have really done a lot of studies on,” he said.
“They were very excited about it and to do a study. That has now been going on over the winter,” said Bourn, adding the team is exploring all kinds of aspects of these types of ‘sliding into boards’ injuries as well.
Bourn expects the results soon. “That is where things are at,” he said. “I’m not sure what their time frame is on this, but I know it’s coming soon.”
From there, it would all be in the waiting to see if manufacturers take up the cause,” he noted.
“I’m excited because I think it’s needed, and I think it would really help to prevent a lot of injuries or lessen the severity of injuries in both youth and adults - at all levels.”