Title:
Protective activity garment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective activity garment comprises a harness configured to cover at least a portion of an upper torso of a wearer, wherein the harness includes a pocket located proximate a front of the harness, and wherein the front of the harness is adapted to align with the chest of the wearer. The garment also comprises a shield member received within the pocket and including a first portion to cover one side of the chest area of the wearer and the second portion to cover an opposite side of the chest area of the wearer, wherein the shield member is adapted to absorb an initial force exerted on the shield member. The garment further comprises a pair of open-cell foam members received within the pocket and aligned with the first and second portions of the shield member, respectively, wherein the open cell foam members are adapted to disperse the force exerted on the shield member.



Inventors:
Mcqueer, Pamela S. (Otsego, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/324889
Publication Date:
07/05/2007
Filing Date:
01/04/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41C3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20080081166ULTRASONIC CUT AND BONDED ELASTIC MATERIALApril, 2008Lau
20040198177Protective elastic support top and breast shieldOctober, 2004Jankowski
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20070049163Inner bra cupMarch, 2007Lin
20080200096Nursing padAugust, 2008Thornton et al.
20090233524Push Up BraSeptember, 2009Cohen
20070123145Adjustable brassiere supportMay, 2007Chang et al.
20080060745SHOULDER STRAP AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING THE SAMEMarch, 2008Lau



Primary Examiner:
HALE, GLORIA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PRICE HENEVELD LLP (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. A protective activity garment, comprising: a harness configured to cover at least a portion of an upper torso of a wearer, the harness including at least one pocket located proximate a front of the harness, wherein the front of the harness is adapted to at least partially align with the chest of a wearer; and an insert received within the at least one pocket of the harness and having a first portion adapted to cover a first pectoral area of a wearer, a second portion adapted to cover a second pectoral area of a wearer, and a third portion located between the first and second portions and extended downward therefrom to cover a sternum area of a wearer.

2. The protective garment of claim 1, wherein the insert comprises a substantially rigid layer adapted to absorb an initial force exerted on the insert.

3. The protective garment of claim 2, wherein the insert further comprises at least one open-cell foam member adapted to disperse a force exerted on the insert.

4. The protective garment of claim 3, wherein the insert further comprises at least one air permeable cover encapsulating the at least one open-cell foam member.

5. The protective garment of claim 3, wherein the at least one open-cell foam member includes a first foam member aligned with the first portion of the insert, and a second foam member aligned with the second portion of the insert.

6. The protective garment of claim 1, wherein the insert is removably received within the pocket.

7. The protective garment of claim 1, wherein the first portion and the second portion of the insert are each provided a concave shape so as to comfortably receive a breast of a wearer therein.

8. The protective garment of claim 1, wherein the first portion, the second portion and the third portion of the insert are integrally connected.

9. The protective garment of claim 1, wherein the harness comprises a sports bra.

10. A protective activity garment comprising: a harness configured to cover at least a portion of a chest area of a wearer, the harness including at least one pocket located proximate a front of the harness and aligned with a portion of a chest area of a wearer; a shield member received within the at least one pocket and including a first portion to cover one side of a chest area of a wearer and a second portion to cover an opposite side of a chest of a wearer, wherein the shield member is adapted to absorb an initial force exerted on the shield member; and at least one open-cell foam member received within the at least one pocket and including a first portion aligned with the first portion of the shield member, and a second portion aligned with the second portion of the shield member, wherein the open-cell foam member is adapted to disperse a force exerted on the shield member.

11. The protective garment of claim 10, wherein the shield member comprises a substantially rigid layer.

12. The protective garment of claim 11, further including: an air permeable cover encapsulating the at least one open-cell foam member.

13. The protective garment of claim 10, wherein the first and second portions of the at least one open-cell foam member are separate from one another.

14. The protective garment of claim 10, wherein the shield member further includes a third portion located between the first and second portion of the shield member and extending downwardly therefrom, and adapted to cover a sternum area of a wearer.

15. The protective garment of claim 14 wherein the first portion, the second portion and the third portion of the shield member are integrally connected.

16. The protective garment of claim 10, wherein the shield member and the at least one open-cell foam member are removably received within the at least one pocket of the harness.

17. The protective garment of claim 10 wherein the first portion and the second portion of the shield member are each provided a concave shape so as to comfortably receive a breast of a wearer therein.

18. The protective garment of claim 10, wherein the harness comprises a sports bra.

19. A protective activity garment comprising: a harness configured to cover at least a portion of a chest area of a wearer, the harness including at least one pocket located proximate a front of the harness and aligned with a portion of a chest area of a wearer; a substantially rigid shield member removably received within the at least one pocket and including a first portion to cover one side of a chest area of a wearer, a second portion to cover an opposite side of a chest of a wearer, and a third portion located between and extending downwardly from the first and second portion of the shield member and adapted to cover a sternum area of a wearer, wherein the first, second and third portions of the shield member are integrally connected, the first and the second portions are each provided a concave shape so as to comfortably receive a breast of a wearer therein, and wherein the insert is adapted to absorb an initial force exerted on the shield member; at least one open-cell foam member removably received within the at least one pocket and including a first portion aligned with the first portion of the shield member, and a second portion aligned with the second portion of the shield member, wherein the open-cell foam member is adapted to disperse a force exerted on the shield member; and an air permeable cover encapsulating the at least one open-cell foam member.

20. The protective garment of claim 19, wherein the first and second portions of the at least one open-cell foam member are separate from one another.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a protective activity garment, and in particular to a protective garment that includes an energy-absorbing and dispersing insert particularly well adapted to protect the chest area of a female wearer.

Protective clothing and equipment is used in a wide variety of applications including those associated with contact sports such as football, boxing, soccer, etc., law enforcement, the military, manual labor, and the like. These articles of clothing and protective equipment include things such as helmets, shin guards, teeth guards and guards to protect the male groin area, and are typically adapted to protect the wearer from a sudden impact or force exerted on the protected area. While many of these protective items are designed for the male wearer, few items are particularly adapted to protect a female wearer, and in particular to protecting the chest area of a female wearer.

Heretofore, the items available for protecting the chest area of a female athlete, police officer, soldier, etc., consisted of multiple layers of clothing, uncomfortable and cumbersome non-form fitting protective plates more suitable for a male wearer, and unnecessarily complicated arrays of plates and straps. Further, these items have failed to adequately protect the chest area of the female. Moreover, previous attempts at providing adequate and comfortable protection fell short of simple requirements, such as allowing the user to keep the associated protective items sanitary, and allowing the user to easily don and remove the protective item.

Therefore, a protective garment is desired that provides adequate and comfortable protection of the chest area of a female wearer, is uncomplicated in design so as to allow the wearer to easily don and remove the garment, and that allows easy sanitation thereof between wearings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention includes a protective activity garment that comprises a harness configured to cover at least a portion of an upper torso of a wearer, wherein the harness includes at least one pocket located proximate a front of the harness, and wherein the front of the harness is adapted to at least partially align with the chest of the wearer. The protective activity garment further comprises an insert received within the at least one pocket of the harness and having a first portion adapted to cover a first pectoral area of a wearer, a second portion adapted to cover a second pectoral area of a wearer, and a third portion located between the first and second portions and extending downwardly therefrom to cover a sternum area of a wearer.

Another aspect of the present invention includes a protective activity garment that comprises a harness configured to cover at least a portion of a chest area of a wearer, wherein the harness includes at least one pocket located proximate a front of a harness and aligned with a portion of the chest area of the wearer. The protective activity garment also comprises a shield member received within the at least one pocket and including a first portion to cover one side of the chest area of the wearer, and a second portion to cover an opposite side of the chest area of the wearer, wherein the shield member is adapted to absorb an initial force exerted on the shield member. The protective activity garment further comprises at least one open-cell foam member received with the at least one pocket and including a first portion aligned with the first portion of the shield member, and the second portion aligned with the second portion of the shield member, wherein the open cell-foam member is adapted to disperse the force exerted on the shield member.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is a protective activity garment comprising a harness configured to cover at least a portion of a chest area of a wearer, wherein the harness includes at least one pocket located proximate a front of the harness and aligned with a portion of the chest area of the wearer. The protective activity garment also comprises a substantially rigid shield member removably received within the at least one pocket and including a first portion to cover one side of the chest area of the wearer, a second portion to cover an opposite side of the chest area of the wearer, and a third portion located between and extending downwardly from the first and second portion of the shield member and adapted to cover a sternum area of the wearer, wherein the first, second and third portions of the shield member are integrally connected, the first and second portions are each provided a concave shape so as to comfortably receive a breast of a wearer therein, and wherein the insert is adapted to absorb an initial force exerted on the shield member. The protective activity garment further comprises at least one open cell foam member removably received within the at least one pocket and including a first portion aligned with the first portion of the shield member, and a second portion aligned with the second portion of the shield member, wherein the open-cell foam member is adapted to disperse the force exerted on the shield member. The protective activity garment still further comprises an air permeable cover encapsulating the at least one open cell foam member.

The present inventive protective activity garment provides substantial and comfortable protection of the chest area of a female wearer, is uncomplicated in design, thereby allowing a wearer to easily don and remove the garment, and allows easy sanitation thereof by allowing removal of the associated components. Moreover, the garment is efficient in use, economical to manufacture, capable of a long, useful life, and is particularly well adapted for the proposed use, namely, comfortably and adequately protecting the chest area of a female wearer.

These and other advantages of the invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following written specification, claims and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded front view of a protective activity garment embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the protective activity garment, wherein a shield member, a pair of open-cell foam members, and an internal pocket are shown in dashed lines;

and

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional top view of the shield member, the pair of open-cell foam members and the internal pocket of the protective activity garment taken along the line III-III, FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For purposes of description herein, the terms “upper,” “lower,” “right,” “left,” “rear,” “front,” “vertical,” “horizontal,” and derivatives thereof shall relate to the invention as oriented in FIG. 1. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations and step sequences, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification are exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts defined in the appended claims. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting, unless the claims expressly state otherwise.

The reference numeral 10 (FIG. 1) generally designates a protective activity garment embodying the present invention. In the illustrated example, the protective activity garment 10 comprises a harness 12 that covers the chest area of a wearer and includes an internally-located T-shaped pocket 14. The protective activity garment 10 also includes a shield member 16 received within the pocket 14, and a pair of open-cell foam members 18 also received within the pocket. In operation, a force as exerted on the chest area of the wearer is initially absorbed by the shield member 16 and then dispersed by the foam member 18, as discussed below.

In the illustrated example, the harness 12 comprises a sports bra 20, however, it is noted that other articles of clothing and safety devices may be substituted therefore, including full-fashion shirts, chest protectors, armored/protective vests, and the like. As illustrated, the sports bra 20 is constructed of a highly-elastic material such as lycra, thereby enabling the sports bra 20 to hold the shield member 16 and the foam members 18 in close proximity to the wearer and prevent shifting of the same. The inner pocket 14 is secured about three edges thereof, including the side edges 22 and the bottom edge 24, thereby leaving the upper edge 26 open allowing the shield member 16 and the foam members 18 to be placed within the pocket 14.

The shield member 16 comprises a rigid material, such as plastic, that is able to receive and absorb an initial force exerted therein. The shield member 16 includes a first portion 28, a second portion 30 and a third portion 32 located between the first and second portions 28, 30 and extending downwardly therefrom. As is best illustrated in FIG. 1, the first and second portions 28, 30 are provided a plan shape that covers the breast-area of a female wearer, while the arcuately-shaped third portion 32 extends downwardly from the first and second portions 28, 30 and covers a sternum area of the wearer. The shield member 16 is received within the pocket 14 (FIG. 2) in such a manner so as to prevent any significant movement of the shield member 16 within the pocket 14 when the harness 12 is being worn. The first portion 28 (FIG. 3) and the second portion 30 are each provided with an arcuately-shaped cross-sectional configuration so as to provide a space or clearance 34 for the comfortable placement of the breast of a wearer therein. Each foam member 18 comprises an open-cell foam construction. Specifically, the foam comprises broken or open-cell walls that allow air to fill the spaces within the foam as well as pass therethrough. The open-cell structure of the foam members 18, allows air to quickly dissipate from within each member 18 when a force as represented and indicated by directional arrow 34 is exerted on the shield member 16 and transmitted to the foam members 18, as discussed below. Each foam member 18 is provided with an arcuately-shaped cross-sectional configuration similar to that of the shield member 16. Each foam member 18 is covered with an air permeable cover 36, such as a 200 denier nylon, thereby protecting the foam member 18 while still allowing air to actively flow therethrough. As is best illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the cover 36 encapsulated foam members 18 are inserted within the pocket 14 proximate the first portion 28 and second portion 30 of the shield member 16, respectively. It is noted that a shield member 16 and the foam members 18 are each removable from within the pocket 14, thereby allowing the wearer to wash and disinfect the same.

In operation, when a force 34 is exerted on the shield member 16, the shield member 16 acts to absorb the initial force and serves as a load spreader distributing the force across the surface area of the shield member 16. This distributed force is then received by one or both of the foam members 18 that act to disperse the same. Specifically, the force as received by each of the foam members is dissipated as the foam members 18 are compressed and air is forced outwardly therefrom through the air permeable cover 36 in a direction as represented and indicated by directions arrows 38.

The present inventive protective activity garment provides substantial and comfortable protection of the chest area of a female wearer, is uncomplicated in design, thereby allowing a wearer to easily don and remove the garment, and allows easy sanitation thereof by allowing removal of the associated components. Moreover, the garment is efficient in use, economical to manufacture, capable of a long, useful life, and is particularly well adapted for the proposed use, namely, comfortably and adequately protecting the chest area of a female wearer.

The above description is considered that of the preferred embodiment only. Modifications of the invention will occur to those skilled in the art and to those who make or use the invention. Therefore, it is understood that the embodiment shown in the drawings and described above is merely for illustrative purposes and not intended to limit the scope of the invention, which is defined by the following claims as interpreted according to the principles of patent law, including the doctrine of equivalents.