DIYPhotography.net has a great tip on how to protect a strobe on a stand / tripod. Use a frisbee! I actually had a tripod permanently disabled when my son toppled it over. This tip could probably protect your tripod as well. Hit the link for details.
Permanent link to this article: http://blog.stillworx.com/2009/07/19/photography-tip-protect-your-strobe-with-a-frisbee/