Title:
Protective garment for sporting activities
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A protective device for protecting the upper thorasic portion of a wearer's body made of stretchable material formed into a tubular shirt like body covering garment having a shape conforming to the wearer's body. The garment includes front and rear sides, a lower opening, head opening and arm openings and further includes a plurality of pockets, a first pocket being located on the front side of the garment and pockets located on the rear side of the garment. The first pocket is formed with an upper edge generally shaped in a sinusoidal wave, the apex of which is located above the heart area when worn by the user. The rear pockets also have an upper sinusoidal shape extending across the back of the wearer, the apex of which is located across the upper back area of the wearer. A plurality of rigid, impact absorbing plates are positioned in the pockets. The plates are contoured and shaped to fit the body configurations of the wearer to provide maximum protection against a variety of impacts. A second protective device is a shirt like garment having a kidney shaped pocket adjacent the wearer's shoulder area for protection against the recoil forces of a firearm.



Inventors:
Kanavage, Stanley Chester (Bogart, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/710567
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
02/26/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/463
International Classes:
A41D27/26; A41D13/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, AMBER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALLSPORTS ARMOUR (Bogart, GA, US)
Claims:
1. A protective device for protecting the upper thorasic portion of a wearer's body comprising: a upper torso body covering,garment having a front and a rear, including a lower opening, head opening and arm openings; a plurality of pockets formed in said garment, a first of said pockets being located on said front of said garment and at least one second pocket being located on said rear of said garment; said first pocket having an upper edge generally sinusoidal shaped, the apex of which is located above the heart area when worn by the user; said second pocket having an upper sinusoidal shape extending at least partway across the back of the wearer, the apex of which is located across the upper back area of the wearer; and, a plurality of rigid, impact absorbing plates sized and shaped to and positioned in said pockets; said plates being contoured and shaped to fit the body configurations of the wearer.

2. The protective device of claim 1 wherein said first pocket is larger in the center of the front side of said garment and is progressively smaller away from said center of the front side of said garment.

3. The protective device of claim 2 wherein said first pocket is further defined by a lower edge having an upwardly curved shape.

4. The protective device of claim 1 wherein said rear side is formed with two pockets; a first pocket extending from approximately midway of the rear side to a first rear side edge and a second complimentary pocket extending from approximately midway of the rear side to an opposite rear side edge.

5. The protective device of claim 4 wherein said first and second pockets are juxtaposed and form a sinusoidal upper edge.

6. The protective device of claim 1 wherein said garment is formed of stretchable material to conform to the body contours of the wearer.

7. A protective device for protecting the shoulder portion of a wearer's body comprising: a stretchable material formed into a tubular body covering garment having a shape conforming to the wearer's body; said garment having a front and a rear side, a lower opening, head opening and arm openings; said garment including a pocket located adjacent the shoulder of the wearer; said pocket being generally kidney shaped having a convex portion toward the pectoral muscle of the wearer and a concave area toward the outer edge of the wearer's arm; and, a rigid, impact absorbing plate positioned in said pocket; said plate being contoured and shaped to fit the outer shoulder body configuration of the wearer.

Description:

The present invention is directed to protective garments and in particular to garments used to protect participants while playing sporting activities.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of protective pads and plastic shields for various sports is well known. For example, hockey and football players use a great deal of protective equipment to prevent injury from impacts during a game. Other sports such as soccer and shooting also use protective guards and padding. In the game of baseball, protective shields are generally limited to the catcher position that use a mask, chect protector and shin guards. However, a number of baseball players, particularly small children, have experienced fatal heart injuries from a batted or thrown ball, or a mis-directed bat, impacting against the chest or back of the player.

There have been a number of attempts to provide protection to a wearer from impact to a particular body part when engaging in various sporting activities. Examples of these are shown and described in the patent art, the following being some specific examples.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,135,961 to Roderick shows an early example of a protective shirt having a front inner pocket for a T-shaped sponge impact absorbing material.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,621,914 to Ramone et al discloses a shirt to protect the heart area of a wearer when playing baseball. The shirt has a frontal inside pocket to mount an impact resistant laminate formed of a foam layer and an impact resistant plate.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,507,801 to Kavanagh et al shows another protective garment formed of a stretch material with pockets over the areas to be protected. Pads, formed to fit the wearer, are inserted in the pockets and are held in place by the stretch material.

U.S. Pat. No. to Davis discloses a protective shield worn under the outer uniform of the wearer that conforms to the shape of the user.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,899,738, 5,456,658 and 5,480,376 to Parker are directed to the armour material and method of forming the same used with the protective garment of the present invention.

Among a number of additional patents of interest are the patents to Pecoraro U.S. Pat. No. 4,100,620, Ketcham et al, U.S. Pat. No. 4,870,706, White, U.S. Pat. No. 6,305,031 and Matechen et al, U.S. Pat. No. 7,100,216 B2.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to sports body armour that represents an improvement of the known prior art. The invention is a shirt using a four way stretchable, moisture wicking material, designed to be worn under an outer jacket, shirt or uniform. The shirt has at least one inner pocket to mount an armour plate formed to the body shape of the wearer as described in the aforementioned Parker patents.

The present invention specifically improves the shape of the armour material used in the body armour, in particular for use in playing baseball and shooting firearms.

A first embodiment of the invention is a sports armour shirt designed for a wearer playing baseball. The shirt is specifically designed to protect the heart, rib and back areas of the wearer against the impact of any blunt force impacts such as a thrown or batted baseball or swung or thrown baseball bat, unlike prior art products that protect a specific part of the wearer's body. The shirt is designed to be worn under the outer uniform of the wearer and to fit such that the wearer is completely unincumbered when executing various motions such as batting or throwing a baseball during the course of playing the game. The shirt is made of stretchable material and snugly conforms to the shape of the wearer's body. It will be appreciated that various sizes of shirts are available to accommodate different size wearers.

The shirt includes a plurality of pockets on the inner surface thereof. Typically the pockets are sewn in place during the manufacture of the shirt and are sized and shaped to the exact size and shape of the armour mounted therein. In this embodiment, the frontal armour pocket and the corresponding armour plate has a large central area directly covering the upper thorasic portion of the wearer's chest. The upper portion extends to a point just below the collar. The upper edge of the upper portion is sinusoidal in shape, with the apex of the sine wave being centrally located below the collar. The sides of the pocket gradually extend downwardly following the sinusoidal shape of the upper portion and terminate at the side of the wearer under the proximate armpit area. The lower edge of the pocket and corresponding armour extends proximate to the solar plexus of the wearer and extends in a gradual upward curve between the side edges.

The rear of the shirt has two inner pockets to accommodate at least one additional armour plate. Each rear pocket extends from the side to approximately midway adjacent the spine of the wearer. As with the frontal armour and pocket, the rear pockets together form a sinusoidal upper shape with the upper edges being located generally between the shoulder blades. The lower edges of the pockets are located approximately midway along the length of the wearer's spine.

The protective armour shirts are typically sold with the armour before the armour is form fitted to the wearer. The wearer puts the shirt on and opens the sealed, air-tight armour packages. At this time the armour plates are uncured and are flexible. Exposure to air causes the resin impregnated fiberglass material that forms the armour to harden. Before hardening begins, the armour plates are placed in the corresponding pockets and preferably are held in position by a wrap material or the like. The stretchable fabric of the shirt also presses the uncured armour against the wearer's body contours to ensure an exact form fit when the armour hardens. Reference can be made to the Parker patents referenced hereinabove for details of the forming and hardening process.

A second embodiment of the present invention is a shooting shirt made of similar stretchable fabric material as described above for use with the baseball armour shirt, having a single pocket and armour plate adjacent the front of the wearer's shoulder. In this embodiment, the shirt includes a single kidney shaped pocket to mount a correspondingly shaped armour plate that disperses the recoil energy from the impact of the butt of a rifle or shotgun.

Among the objects of the present invention is the provision of a body armour plate specifically shaped to protect a designated body part.

Another object is the provision of a protective garment having shaped pockets to accommodate correspondingly shaped armour parts.

Still another object is to provide a protective garment having a shaped armour plate to protect a wearer's heart area from injury during the playing of a sport.

Still another object is to provide a protective garment having a shaped armour plate to protect a wearer's heart area from being struck during playing a game of baseball.

Another object is to provide a protective garment having a shaped armour plate to protect a shooter's shoulder from impact caused by recoil of a firearm.

These and other objects will be more fully appreciated with reference to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a first embodiment of a protective garment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view thereof.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of a body armour plate used with the protective garment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a second body armour plate used with the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a plan view of a body armour plate used with the protective garment of FIG. 5.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1 to 4 illustrate a first embodiment of a shirt type protective garment 10 of the invention. The shirt 10 is a form fitting sports armour shirt designed for a wearer playing baseball and includes a bottom opening, neck opening and arm openings. The shirt 10 is specifically designed to protect the heart area of the wearer against the impact of a thrown or batted baseball. The shirt 10 is designed to be worn under the outer uniform of the wearer and to fit such that the wearer is completely unincumbered when playing the game, whether batting or throwing a baseball. The shirt 10 is made of stretchable material and snugly conforms to the shape of the wearer's body. It will be appreciated that various sizes of shirts are available to accommodate different size wearers.

The shirt 10 includes a pocket 12 on the front 14 of the shirt 10 and a pair of pockets 16 and 18 on the rear 20 of the shirt 10. The pockets are located on the inner surface of the shirt 10 and are sewn in place during the manufacture of the shirt 10. The pockets are sized and shaped to the exact size and shape of the armour plates 22 and 24 mounted therein. In this embodiment, the frontal armour pocket 12 has a large central area 26 directly covering the upper thorasic portion of the wearer s chest. An upper edge 28 of the pocket 12 extends to a point below the collar 30 of the shirt 10. The upper edge 28 of the pocket 12 is sinusoidal in shape, with the apex of the sine wave being centrally located below the collar 30. The sides 32 of the pocket 12 gradually extend downwardly following the sinusoidal shape of the upper edge 28 and terminate at the side of the shirt under the armpit area of the wearer. The lower edge 34 of the pocket 12 extends proximate the solar plexus of the wearer and extends in a gradual upward curve between the sides 32.

The armour plate 36, formed to the contour of the wearer as described hereinbelow, is shaped and sized to snugly fit into the pocket 12 through a small opening (not shown) in the pocket 12. The upper edge 38 of the armour plate 36 is sinusoidal in shape, following the contours of the pocket 12, creating a large upper portion 40 that extends completely over the heart area of the wearer. The shape is particularly efficient covering the heart while not being obtrusive to the wearer when performing athletic movements such as batting or throwing a ball. The sides 42 of the plate 36 also conform to the shape of the pocket 12 and extend across the upper rib area of the wearer.

The rear 20 of the shirt 10 has two inner pockets 16 and 18 to accommodate at least one additional armour plate 44. Each rear pocket 16 and 18 extends from the side of the shirt 10 to approximately midway of the rear 20 of the shirt 10 adjacent the spine of the wearer. As with the frontal armour pocket 12, the rear pockets 16 and 18 together have a sinusoidal upper shape with the upper edges 46 and 48 being located generally between the shoulder blades of the wearer. The lower edges 50 and 52 of the pockets are located approximately midway along the length of the wearer's spine.

The protective armour shirts are typically sold with the armour in a separate package before the armour is form fitted to the wearer. The wearer puts the shirt on and opens the sealed, air-tight armour packages. At this time the armour plates are uncured and are flexible. Exposure to air causes the resin impregnated, fiberglass material that forms the armour to harden. Before hardening begins, the armour plates are placed in the corresponding pockets and preferably are held in position by a wrap material or the like. The stretchable fabric of the shirt also presses the uncured armour against the wearer's body contours to ensure an exact form fit when the armour hardens. Reference can be made to the Parker patents for details of the forming and hardening process.

FIGS. 5 and 6 show a second embodiment of a protective armour shirt 100. This shirt is designed to be used while the wearer is shooting a rifle or shotgun having recoil against the shoulder of the wearer. A kidney shaped pocket 102 is sewn adjacent either the left or right shoulder portion of the shirt 100, depending upon the particular shooter, the left shoulder being typically where the butt end of the firearm is placed while a right handed person is shooting. The convex side 104 of the kidney shaped pocket 102 is located near the center of the shirt 100 toward the pectoral muscle of the wearer. The concave side 106 of the kidney shaped pocket 102 is located toward the outside of the shirt 100 adjacent to the outer edge of the wearer's arm. An armour plate 110 is formed in the same manner as described hereinabove to be form fitting against the wearer's shoulder. The particular kidney shape of the armour plate 110 provides maximum recoil dispersion against the wearer's shoulder.

It will be appreciated that the overall size of the pockets and armour may be adjusted to fit particular individual wearers. Other changes and modifications may be made in keeping within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined in the following claims.