Title:
Padded arm and leg protectors
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Padded arm and leg protectors having particular application to be worn around the arm and leg of one playing the game of paintball to prevent injury as a consequence of a paintball propelled from a paintball marker striking the player's arm or leg. In one embodiment, the arm protector includes a sleeve surrounding the arm and extending at least between the elbow and the wrist of the player. The sleeve has an outside top layer, an inside bottom layer, and a plurality of protective pads retained between the layers. The protective pads are strategically positioned along the sleeve to cover the wearer's elbow, his wrist and at least some of the muscles of the arm between the elbow and the wrist. The protective pads are separated and spaced from one another by respective channels which extend completely around each pad. By virtue of the foregoing, the protective pads are movable independently of one another so as to provide the arm with unrestricted movements during play, whereby to permit the player's elbow to bend, the wrist to rotate and the arm muscles between the elbow and wrist to flex at the same time.


Inventors:
Anderson, Kenneth K. (Newport Beach, CA, US)
Evenson, Tyson A. (Lake Elsinore, CA, US)
Evenson, Pamela (Lake Elsinore, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/655927
Publication Date:
07/14/2011
Filing Date:
01/12/2010
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/16, 2/22
International Classes:
F41H1/02; A41D13/05; A41D13/08
View Patent Images:
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Claims:
1. A padded limb protector to be worn over and protect one of the arm or leg of a wearer, said limb protector including a plurality of individual pads that are separated from and moveable independently of one another depending upon the movements of the arm or leg.

2. The padded limb protector recited in claim 1, wherein the limb to be protected is the wearer's arm, said limb protector further including a sleeve to be pulled over at least some of the arm of the wearer, said sleeve being sized to extend continuously between and surround at least the wearer's wrist and elbow, and said plurality of individual pads being carried by said sleeve to cover at least the wrist and elbow.

3. The padded limb protector recited in claim 2, wherein said sleeve has an inside bottom layer and an outside top layer, said plurality of individual pads being located and retained between said inside bottom and outside top layers.

4. The padded limb protector recited in claim 3, wherein the inside bottom and outside top layers of said sleeve are manufactured from a material that is adapted to stretch in response to a pulling force applied thereto.

5. The padded limb protector recited in claim 3, wherein said plurality of individual pads are manufactured from a resilient cushion material.

6. The padded limb protector recited in claim 3, wherein said plurality of individual pads are spaced from one each other so as to be able to move independently relative to one another between the inside bottom and outside top layers of the sleeve depending upon the movement of the arm of the wearer.

7. The padded limb protector recited in claim 6, wherein said plurality of individual pads are separated and spaced from one another by respective channels located between adjacent ones of said pads.

8. The padded limb protector recited in claim 7, wherein the outside top layer of said sleeve is sealed against the inside bottom layer thereof to create said respective channels located between said adjacent ones of said plurality of individual pads by which said pads are separated and spaced from one another.

9. The padded limb protector recited in claim 8, wherein each pad of said plurality of individual pads is completely surrounded by at least one of said respective channels.

10. The padded limb protector recited in claim 3, further including an abrasion and impact-reducing layer of armor attached over the top layer of said sleeve and lying above each of said plurality of individual pads.

11. The padded limb protector recited in claim 3, wherein there is a cuff located at one end of said sleeve and having a thumb hole formed therein for receipt of the wearer's thumb and a fastening strap located at the opposite end of said sleeve and adapted to be tightened around the wearer's arm so as to prevent said sleeve from sliding down along the arm.

12. The padded limb protector recited in claim 1, wherein the limb to be protected is the wearer's leg, said limb protector further including a sleeve to be pulled over at least some of the leg of the wearer, said sleeve being sized to extend continuously between and surround the wearer's knee and shin, and said plurality of pads being carried by said sleeve to cover at lest the knee and shin.

13. The padded limb protector recited in claim 12, wherein said plurality of individual pads are separated and spaced from one another by respective channels located between adjacent ones of said pads.

14. A padded arm protector to prevent injury to a wearer's arm as a result of projectiles being propelled towards and against the arm, said arm protector comprising a sleeve to be worn over and surround the arm and having a length sufficient to extend at least between the wearer's elbow and wrist, said sleeve comprising an outer top layer, an inner bottom layer, and a plurality of protective pads located between said outer top and inner bottom layers, at least a first of said protective pads positioned between said outer and inner layers to cover the wearer's elbow, at least a second of said protective pads positioned between said inner and outer layers to cover the wearer's wrist, and at least a third of said protective pads positioned between said inner and outer layers to cover at least some of the muscles of the arm between the elbow and the wrist, each of said first, second and third protective pads being spaced from and moving independently of one another when the wearer simultaneously bends his elbow, rotates his wrist, and flexes his arm muscles.

15. The padded arm protector recited in claim 14, wherein each one of said first, second and third protective pads of said plurality of protective pads is completely surrounded and separated from an adjacent one of said protective pads by a channel, said channel being formed by attaching said outer top and inner bottom layers directly to one another.

16. A padded arm protector to be worn over the arm of a wearer, said arm protector including a sleeve to be pulled over and cover the arm of the wearer between at least the wrist and the elbow, a plurality of individual pads connected to the sleeve, and a corresponding plurality of individual covers attached to said sleeve and covering respective ones of said plurality of individual pads.

17. The padded arm protector recited in claim 16, wherein said sleeve is manufactured from a material that is adapted to stretch in response to a pulling force applied thereto.

18. The padded arm protector recited in claim 16, wherein said plurality of individual pads are manufactured from a resilient cushion material.

19. The padded arm protector recited in claim 16, wherein said plurality of individual pads are spaced from one another along said sleeve so as to be able to move independently relative to one another with said sleeve depending upon the movements of the arm of the wearer.

20. The padded arm protector recited in claim 19, wherein said plurality of individual pads are separated and spaced from one another by means of respective channels located between adjacent ones of said pads.

21. The padded arm protector recited in claim 20, wherein said plurality of individual covers are separated and spaced from one another by said channels located between said adjacent ones of said pads.

22. The padded arm protector recited in claim 16, wherein each one of said plurality of individual pads is completely surrounded by a corresponding one of said plurality of individual covers to hold said pads against sleeve.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to padded arm and leg protectors having particular application to be worn over the arm or leg by one playing the game of paintball. In one embodiment, the arm protector includes a plurality of pads that are carried by a pull-on sleeve and adapted to move independently of one another to allow the player's elbow to bend, his wrist to rotate, and the muscles of the arm located between the elbow and wrist to flex without the motion restrictions associated with a conventional arm protector.

2. Background Art

The game of paintball involves paintball markers that propel paintballs, often at high velocity, from one player towards another. A paintball can inflict pain and even injury to the targeted player. Therefore, padded coverings are commonly worn by players to minimize the impact forces that are generated as a consequence of a paintball strike. In this regard, a wrap consisting of a single pad has been used to surround and protect a player's arm. Such a padded wrap is known to extend continuously from the elbow to the wrist. However, the conventional padded arm wrap undesirably restricts the movements of the player's elbow and wrist as well as the muscles located therebetween. That is, the articulation of a player's arm is limited primarily to the joints only. In some cases, a player wearing a continuous padded wrap may be able to rotate the wrist but unable to bend his elbow. In other cases, should a player rotate his wrist, the entire wrap is known to correspondingly rotate around his arm at the same time. Accordingly, the conventional single pad arm wrap may be uncomfortable, limit articulation and motion, and reduce the player's ability to quickly and accurately aim his marker towards a desired target.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In general terms, improved padded arm and leg protectors are disclosed to be ideally worn over the arm or leg of one playing the game of paintball. According to a first preferred embodiment, the arm protector includes an elongated sleeve that extends continuously from below the player's shoulder past his wrist. A thumb hole is formed through a front end of the sleeve below the wrist in which to receive a player's thumb to prevent the arm protector from riding up the player's arm. A (e.g., Velcro) fastener is located at the opposite rear end of the sleeve to apply a tightening force against the player's arm to prevent the arm protector from sliding down the player's arm. A plurality of individual pads, manufactured from a resilient (e.g., foam) cushion material are carried inside the sleeve so as to cover and protect the elbow, the wrist, and the muscles of the arm lying therebetween. The pads absorb some of the impact force that is generated by an incoming paintball which is propelled from a paintball marker so as to cause the paintball to simply bounce off the arm protector. The sleeve of the arm protector includes inside bottom and outside top layers that are preferably manufactured from a material (e.g., Lycra) that is capable of being stretched. A layer of textured shock and abrasion-reducing armor (e.g., Kevlar) material is attached (e.g., sewn) over each of the protective pads above the outside top layer of the sleeve. The arm protector is worn by pulling the sleeve over the player's arm so that the player's thumb is received through the thumb hole at the front end of the sleeve and the fastener is tightened around the player's arm at the opposite rear end of the sleeve.

The plurality of individual pads carried by the sleeve of the arm protector between the inside bottom and outside top layers are capable of moving independently of one another depending upon the movements of the player's arm during play. More particularly, the pads are separated and spaced from each other by means of seams or channels which extend continuously around each pad. The channels are created by sealing the outside top layer of the sleeve directly to the inside bottom layer. The independently moving pads enable the player's elbow and wrist to have a full range of articulation. That is, the player's elbow is able to bend, his wrist can rotate, and the muscles in the arm between the elbow and wrist can flex simultaneously relative to one another so that the freedom of motion of the player's arm will not be undesirably restricted during play.

According to an alternate preferred embodiment for a padded arm protector, a plurality of individual protective pads are attached to one of an inner or outer sleeve that surrounds a player's arm. A corresponding plurality of individual covers are located over and around respective ones of the pads such that channels are formed around the pads to separate the pads and their covers from one another. The pads are capable of moving independently of each other with the sleeve to enable the player's wrist and elbow to have a full range of articulation during play.

The advantages of the padded arm protector are also applicable to a padded leg protector. In this case, the leg protector has at least one sleeve that surrounds the player's leg and extends continuously from at least the player's knee to his ankle. The sleeve carries a plurality of protective pads which are spaced from and move independently relative to one another.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1 and 3 illustrate a padded arm protector according to a preferred embodiment of this invention being worn over the arm of one playing the game of paintball;

FIG. 2 is a cross-section of the padded arm protector taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1 showing a plurality of individual protective pads located between outside top and inside bottom layers of an elongated sleeve;

FIG. 4 demonstrates the ability of a player wearing the padded arm protector of this invention to simultaneously bend his elbow and rotate his wrist so as to have a complete range of arm movements during play;

FIG. 5 is a cross-section of a padded arm protector according to an alternate preferred embodiment of this invention showing a plurality of individual outer protective pads attached to an elongated inner sleeve; and

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate a padded leg protector according to another preferred embodiment of this invention being worn over the leg of a player.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A padded arm protector 1 according to a preferred embodiment of this invention is disclosed while referring concurrently to FIGS. 1-4 of the drawings. As will be explained in greater detail hereinafter, the arm protector 1 has particular application to be worn over and around the arm of one playing the game of paintball so as to permit the player's wrist, elbow and muscles to have a full range of motion while protecting the arm from injury as might otherwise occur had a paintball traveling at high speed made direct contact with an unprotected arm. However, the benefits of this invention are also applicable to protecting the player's legs and covering the knee and ankle.

In the particular example shown in FIGS. 1-4, the arm protector 1 includes an elongated sleeve 10 that extends continuously from at least below the player's shoulder past his wrist. The sleeve 10 of the arm protector 1 carries a plurality of (e.g., six) individual pads 3 that are strategically positioned to cover and protect the player's elbow, wrist and the muscles of the arm lying therebetween. By way of example only, the protective pads 3 are manufactured from a resilient cushion material, such as foam or the like. The resilient pads 3 are adapted to absorb some of the impact force that is caused by an incoming paintball striking the arm protector so that the paintball will simply bounce off the pad 3 against which it is propelled.

As is best shown in FIG. 2, the individual pads 3 are sandwiched between an inside bottom layer 5 and an opposing outside top layer 7 of the sleeve 10. Each of the inside and outside layers 5 and 7 of sleeve 10 is preferably manufactured from a material that is capable of stretching when subjected to a pulling force. By way of further example, one such suitable stretchable material from which the inside bottom and outside top layers 5 and 7 are manufactured is that known commercially as Lycra.

As is best shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, a thin layer of textured shock and abrasion-reducing armor material 9 is attached (e.g., sewn) above the outside top layer 7 of sleeve 10 so as to lie over each pad 3 of the arm protector 1. One suitable shock and abrasion-reducing material from which the textured armor layer 9 can be manufactured is a blend of nylon material known commercially as Kevlar.

As an important detail of the padded arm protector 1, the individual protective pads 3 that are carried within the sleeve 10 between the opposing inside bottom and outside top layers 5 and 7 are capable of moving independently of one another depending upon the movements of the player's arm during play. To this end, the individual pads 3 are spaced from each other by empty gaps or channels 12 (best shown in FIG. 2). In particular, a channel 12 extends completely around each pad 3 so as to separate a pair of adjacent pads. Each channel is established by sealing the inside bottom and outside top layers 5 and 7 of the sleeve 10 directly to one another. Such sealing may be accomplished, for example, by means of stitching, gluing or (heat) welding the layers 5 and 7 together so as to lie in face-to-face engagement one above the other.

As is also best shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the sleeve 10 of the padded arm protector 1 has a cuff 14 located at a front end thereof and extending past the player's wrist. A thumb hole 16 is formed through the cuff 14 such that when the sleeve 10 is pulled over the player's arm, the player's thumb is received through the thumb hole 16 to prevent the sleeve 10 from sliding down the player's arm in a direction away from the wrist. One end of an elastic fastening strap 18 is affixed to the rear end of the sleeve 10 below the player's shoulder and opposite the cuff 14. The opposite end of the elastic fastening strap 18 includes hook-and-loop fastener material (known commercially as Velcro). A complementary piece of hook-and-loop fastener material 20 is affixed outside the top layer 7 at the rear end of the sleeve 10 in spaced proximity to the fastening strap 18. To prevent the sleeve 10 from sliding down the player's arm in a direction away from the elbow, the fastening strap 18 is pulled towards and detachably connected to the fastener material 20. The fastening strap 18 can be adjustably tightened around the wearer's arm as needed to hold the rear end of the sleeve 10 against the arm.

The padded arm protector 1 is worn in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3 such that the inside bottom layer 5 of the sleeve 10 surrounds and lays against the player's arm, the outside top layer 7 faces outwardly from the arm to receive a paintball, and the protective pads 3 are retained between the inside and outside layers 5 and 7 surrounded by respective channels 12 to intercept the paintball. The player's thumb is received through the thumb hole 16 in the cuff 14 at the front end of the sleeve 10, and the fastening strap 18 at the opposite rear end of the sleeve is tightened around the player's arm below the shoulder.

The plurality of protective pads 3 are strategically positioned between the inside and outside layers 5 and 7 of the sleeve 10 so that at least one pad covers and protects the player's elbow and at least one different pad covers and protects the player's wrist. At least a third or more of the protective pads 3 cover the player's arm and the muscles of the arm between the wrist and elbow. By virtue of the channels 12 which surround each of the protective pads 3, the pads have the ability to move independently of one another. That is to say, and as is best shown in FIG. 4, the player's elbow and wrist are allowed a full range of articulation so that use of the player's arm will not be impeded by the arm protector 1 as is often the case in conventional arm protectors characterized by a single continuous protective pad. Thus, and as an important advantage of this invention, the player's arm, between his wrist and elbow, is covered and protected, while the player's elbow is able to bend, his wrist is able to rotate and the muscles of his arm between the elbow and wrist can flex simultaneously to provide the arm with an unrestricted freedom of movement while grasping and manipulating a paintball marker (designated 30 in FIGS. 1 and 4) during play.

The padded arm protector 1 of FIGS. 1-4 has been described as having a plurality of protective pads 3 strategically positioned and sandwiched between an inside bottom layer 5 and an outside top layer 9 of a sleeve 10. However, and turning now to FIG. 5 of the drawings, it is within the scope of this invention to eliminate one of the aforementioned bottom or top layers 5 or 9. In the case of FIG. 5, a padded arm protector 31 is shown having an elongated inner sleeve 33 which surrounds the player's arm and extends continuously from below the shoulder past the wrist. As was earlier described, the inner sleeve 33 is manufactured from a stretchable material. A thumb hole similar to that designated 16 in FIG. 3 may be formed through a front end of the sleeve 33 in which to receive the player's thumb, and complementary (Velcro hook-and-loop) fasteners similar to those designated 18 and 20 in FIG. 1 may be located at the opposite end of the sleeve to apply a tightening force against the player's arm.

A plurality of individual cushion (e.g., foam) pads 35 are positioned on the outside of the sleeve 33 to cover and protect the player's elbow, wrist and muscles of the arm located therebetween. Corresponding individual covers 37 (e.g., manufactured from an armor or a stretchable material) are located over and in surrounding engagement with respective ones of the protective pads 35 to hold the pads against the inner sleeve 33. Each cover 37 is attached to the inner sleeve 33 by means of stitching, gluing, (heat) welding, or the like. Both the protective pads 35 and the covers 37 which surround the pads are separated from one another along the sleeve 33 by spaces or channels 40 which extend continuously around the pads. Like the protective pads 3 shown in FIG. 2, the channels 40 allow the protective pads 35 and their covers 37 of FIG. 5 to move independently of one another with the sleeve 33 depending upon the movements of the player's arm during play. By virtue of the independently moving pads 35, the player's elbow and wrist will be covered with padding while maintaining a full range of articulation in the manner shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 5 shows the arm protector 31 having a plurality of outer protective pads 35 attached to an inner sleeve 33 which covers and surrounds the player's arm. It is also within the scope of this invention for a plurality of inner protective pads to be attached to an outer sleeve (not shown). In this case, the inner pads and their covers will lie against the player's arm and the outer sleeve will extend continuously over top the pads and the channels (also not shown) which lie between the pads.

FIGS. 1-5 describe padded arm protectors which have at least one elongated sleeve that extends continuously from at least the player's elbow past his wrist. In FIGS. 6 and 7 of the drawings, the advantages of the padded arm protectors herein disclosed are applied to a padded leg protector 50 to be pulled over the player's leg. The leg protector 50 of FIGS. 6 and 7 has at least one elongated sleeve 52 that surrounds the player's leg and extends continuously from at least the player's knee to his ankle. The sleeve 52 of leg protector 50 is manufactured from a stretchable material. An elastomeric cuff 54 is located at the bottom of the sleeve 52 to surround the player's ankle and prevent the leg protector 50 from riding up the player's leg. Located at the top of the sleeve 52 are complementary (Velcro hook-and-loop) fasteners 56 and 58 that are mated together above the player's knee to generate a tightening force so as to prevent the leg protector 50 from riding down the player's leg.

The sleeve 52 carries a plurality of individual protective pads 60 that are formed from a cushion (e.g., foam) material. The protective pads 60 of leg protector 50 are positioned on the outside of the sleeve 52 so as to cover and protect the player's knee, shin and ankle and the leg muscles lying therebetween. Corresponding individual covers 62 (e.g., manufactured from an armor or a stretchable material) are located over and in surrounding engagement with the protective pads 60 to hold the pads against the inner sleeve 52. Each cover 62 may be attached to the inner sleeve 52 in the same manner as that shown and described while referring to the arm protector 31 of FIG. 5.

Both the protective pads 60 and the covers 62 which surround the pads are separated from one another along the sleeve 52 by spaces or channels 64 which extend continuously around the pads. The channels 64 allow the protective pads 60 and their covers 62 of FIGS. 6 and 7 to move independently of one another with the sleeve 52 depending upon the movements of the player's leg during play. By virtue of the independently moving pads 60, the player's knee, shin and ankle will be covered with padding while the knee and ankle are able to maintain a full range of articulation.

FIGS. 6 and 7 describe a leg protector 50 having a plurality of outer protective pads 60 attached to an inner sleeve 52 which covers and surrounds the player's leg. It is also within the scope of this invention for a plurality of inner protective pads to be attached to an outer sleeve (not shown). In this case, the inner pads and the covers will lie against the player's leg and the outer sleeve will extend continuously over top the pads and the channels (also not shown) which lie between the pads.