Title:
Customizable protective athletic jacket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A customizable protective athletic jacket is disclosed. Specifically, a jacket with a construction which maximizes protection through the composition of various layers while maximizing comfort and flexibility through the proper selection of layer materials is disclosed. Further, methods providing for minimally destructive maintenance and customizing are also disclosed.



Inventors:
West, Thomas Edward (Discovery Bay, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/398774
Publication Date:
09/28/2006
Filing Date:
03/27/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D1/02
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Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Marc J. Whipple (Arlington Heights, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A customizable protective athletic jacket comprising: A) An outer shell; B) A fabric cover located under the outer shell; C) A plurality of layers of ballistic fabric, located under the fabric cover; D) A layer of impact-absorbing foam, located under the ballistic fabric; and, E) A fabric liner, located under the ballistic fabric.

2. A customizable protective athletic jacket comprising: A) A removable outer shell; B) A fabric cover located under the outer shell; C) A plurality of layers of ballistic fabric, located under the fabric cover; D) A layer of impact-absorbing foam, located under the ballistic fabric; and, E) A removable fabric liner, located under the ballistic fabric.

3. A customizable protective athletic jacket comprising: A) An outer shell; B) A fabric cover located under the outer shell; C) A plurality of layers of ballistic fabric, located under the fabric cover; D) A layer of impact-absorbing foam, located under the ballistic fabric; E) A fabric liner, located under the ballistic fabric; wherein, the jacket is shaped to cover an upper torso of a human being, and wherein the jacket has an extended tail area which covers a lower spine and an upper pelvic area on a dorsal surface of the human being.

4. A customizable protective athletic jacket as in claim 1, further comprising: F) A removable placard featuring a team logo and/or a player number indicator.

5. A customizable protective athletic jacket as in claim 2, further comprising: F) A removable placard featuring a team logo and/or a player number indicator.

6. A customizable protective athletic jacket as in claim 3, further comprising: F) A removable placard featuring a team logo and/or a player number indicator.

7. A customizable protective athletic jacket as in claim 1, further comprising: F) A means for opening and closing the jacket which allows the jacket to be held closed in a variety of positions allowing the jacket to be worn by a plurality of different body shapes.

8. A customizable protective athletic jacket as in claim 1, further comprising: F) A means for opening and closing the jacket which allows the jacket to be held closed in a variety of positions allowing the jacket to be worn by a plurality of different body shapes.

9. A customizable protective athletic jacket as in claim 1, further comprising: F) A means for opening and closing the jacket which allows the jacket to be held closed in a variety of positions allowing the jacket to be worn by a plurality of different body shapes.

10. A customizable protective athletic jacket as in claim 4, further comprising: G) A means for opening and closing the jacket which allows the jacket to be held closed in a variety of positions allowing the jacket to be worn by a plurality of different body shapes.

11. A customizable protective athletic jacket as in claim 5, further comprising: G) A means for opening and closing the jacket which allows the jacket to be held closed in a variety of positions allowing the jacket to be worn by a plurality of different body shapes.

12. A customizable protective athletic jacket as in claim 6, further comprising: G) A means for opening and closing the jacket which allows the jacket to be held closed in a variety of positions allowing the jacket to be worn by a plurality of different body shapes.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Although the invention is suitable for a wide variety of applications, the description of the preferred embodiment uses it in a jacket meant to be worn by a person playing baseball, softball, or other similar game. The players of such games have always been in danger of being hit by an errantly thrown ball, especially the batter. While much protective equipment has been developed to help minimize pain and injury caused by such impacts, it obstructs some forms of movement, and can be uncomfortable, ineffective, or overly expensive. The present invention addresses these concerns.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

An object of the invention is to provide a customizable protective athletic jacket.

A second object of the invention is to provide a jacket which provides a maximum of protection from impact by a thrown ball while minimizing restriction of the wearer.

A third object of the invention is to provide a jacket which is as comfortable as possible while providing protection from impact by a thrown ball.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent in the following disclosure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a jacket meant to be worn during games which involve balls which are thrown or hit and which may strike a player during said games. The jacket is customizable in that exterior features may be changed easily. The jacket protects the wearer from impact by preventing penetration and providing an energy-absorbent but flexible section of materials between the wearer and the moving ball. Its design also provides protection for the base of the spine and upper pelvis while allowing free movement, and fits a wide variety of physical body types.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The characteristic features of the invention will be particularly pointed out in the claims. The descriptions of the preferred embodiment refer to the preceding drawings:

FIG. 1 is a representational front view of the entire apparatus showing the jacket in a closed position.

FIG. 2 is a representational front view of the entire apparatus showing the jacket in a closed position and with a cutaway view of the various layers comprising the jacket.

FIG. 3 is a representational front view of the entire apparatus showing the jacket in a partially open position.

FIG. 4 is a representational rear view of the entire apparatus showing the jacket in a closed position and with additional features.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The description of the preferred embodiment uses the invention in a jacket designed to protect batters from errant pitched balls when playing baseball, softball, and other similar games.

By referring to FIG. 1, the basic concept of the invention may be easily understood. The jacket has opening 17 for the player's neck and openings 15a and 15b for the player's right and left arms respectively. When worn, only the outer shell 12 is visible to observers from the front. (See FIG. 4 for a view from the rear.) The player is protected from the impact of errant pitched balls by features of the jacket described in the following paragraphs.

FIG. 2 shows the features of the jacket. Outer shell 12, which may be removable, provides the desired external appearance including any unique features such as team colors, logos, and so forth. Under outer shell 12 is located fabric cover 14, which is permanently sealed to protect and retain the interior components of the jacket and to define its shape. Beneath fabric cover 14 is located ballistic fabric 16. This comprises one or more layers of very strong, flexible woven material such as that usually referred to as “ballistic Nylon.” Ballistic fabric 16 provides the jacket with structural integrity as well as providing penetration resistance if required, while allowing the jacket to flex with the wearer. It is preferred, but not required, that ballistic fabric 16 be woven in such a way as to allow air and moisture to penetrate it to provide breathability (that is, to allow heat and moisture to escape and cooler exterior air to penetrate.) Under ballistic fabric 16 is found foam layer 18. It is likewise preferred, but not required, that foam layer 18 be perforated to provide breathability. Foam layer 18 provides impact protection, as from a thrown ball or collision with another player during play. It is required that foam layer 18 be comprised of a material which can elastically deform under impact to absorb and diffuse the energy of impact, such as closed-cell foam. Finally, beneath foam layer 18 is located fabric liner 19, which protects the wearer from coming into contact with the other components of the jacket. It is preferred, but not required, that fabric liner 19 be removable to allow its being washed. It is also preferred, but not required, that fabric liner 19 be composed of a soft and permeable material for comfort and breathability.

FIG. 3 shows the method of wearing and retaining the jacket. The jacket is held closed by fasteners, here shown as hook fasteners 32a, 32b, and 32c, and loop fasteners 34a, 34b, and 34c. The wearer opens the jacket by pulling apart the hook and loop fasteners, putting their arms through openings 15b and 15a in such a way that their neck is in the opening 17 when the jacket is closed, allowing the hook and loop fasteners to hold it shut during use. The orientation of the hook and loop fasteners shown, with one set going in a direction orthogonal to the other set, is preferred, because it allows the jacket to be worn by players with different bodily diameters, retaining a snug fit without an arbitrary and restrictive fixed size.

FIG. 4 shows the rear of the jacket, including an optional team logo 42 which is situated on outer shell 12, and a removable player number placard 40, which could be removably held in place by hook and loop fasteners or by any other desired means. Also shown is tail section 13, which provides additional protection for the base of the player's spine and upper pelvis by extending the protective layers described above (see FIG. 1) to that area.

While the description above details the preferred and best mode(s) of practicing the invention, many other configurations and variations are possible. For example:

    • 1) The invention may be more or less customizable depending on the desired level of changeability. The outer shell and/or fabric liner may be permanently attached to devote the jacket to a given color/team designation.
    • 2) The layers of fabric and foam may be supplemented by removable armor panels in areas especially susceptible to impact in the game during which play the jacket will be used.
      Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiment(s) illustrated, but by the claims below and their equivalents.