Title:
Sports Protector
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A foul protector is comprised of an undergarment, a pair of protective pads and a protective cup. The undergarment is in the shape of a pair of short pants. It is fabricated from an elastic material and has an elastic waistband. It has attachment members for attachment to mating attachment members on a pair of boxing trunks and has a pocket in the groin area into which the protective cup is inserted. It has a pair of side pockets formed into opposing sides. On each side, the bottom leg portion is form fit to the user's leg. A pad is inserted into each side pocket. Each pad is shaped to protect a portion of the user's thigh, midsection and hip. The pads are covered by waterproof material. The upper periphery is positioned at the navel level of the user. The foul protector has an unprotected center section.



Inventors:
Sims, Avery A. (Royal Oak, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/539667
Publication Date:
02/04/2010
Filing Date:
08/12/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/22, 2/250, 2/467
International Classes:
A41D13/00; A41D27/20
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050120453Baseball glove with ventilative gussetJune, 2005Wu
20010042259NecktieNovember, 2001Paik
20040181844Reversible jacketSeptember, 2004Kim
20100043120MEDICAL GLOVEFebruary, 2010Lee
20080189835Protective Helmet For Sports Use and For Work UseAugust, 2008Mangone
20090313744ELONGATE DECORATIVE ELEMENTDecember, 2009Hofer
20030074720Alterable belt kit and method of altering the appearance of a beltApril, 2003Reed
20080184457Baby Hat and Method of Manufacturing SameAugust, 2008Pham
20090070915Peace officer's shirt and suspender set for supporting a duty beltMarch, 2009Hill
20050155128Easy access and egress surfer's wet suitJuly, 2005Hayes
20060277650Protective garment having cuff-forming memberDecember, 2006Waters et al.



Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREGORY T. ZALECKI (STERLING HEIGHTS, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sports protector comprising: (a) a cup assembly; (b) a garment in the shape of a pair of short pants; (i) said garment being fabricated from an elastic material; (ii) said garment having a pocket in the groin area of the garment for receiving the cup assembly, said pocket having an opening at its upper end, said pocket being form fit to said protective cup assembly for preventing movement of the protective cup assembly, said pocket having a releasable flap adapted to cover and uncover the pocket opening, the interior of said pocket being provided with at least one releasable attachment member adapted to be releasably attachable to a releasable attachment member on the cup assembly; (iii) said garment having a pair of side pockets formed into opposing sides of the garment each for receiving a protective pad; (c) a pair of protective pads one of such pair of pads being inserted into each side pocket, each said protective pad being shaped to fit within a side pocket and being shaped to protect a frontal portion of a user's thigh, a distal lateral portion of a user's thigh and a portion of a user's back; (d) said cup assembly being comprised of: (i) a protective cup, (ii) a shaped piece of foam, (iii) a waterproof covering, and (iv) at least one attachment member on the waterproof covering, (v) wherein the foam is adapted to fit over the opening of the cup, sets upon the peripheral edges of the cup, provides padding between the peripheral edges of the cup and the groin area of the user, has an abdominal extension segment shaped and sized to provide padding for the user in the abdominal area above the cup, has a cut out which provides an opening into the protective cup, and is attached to the cup, (vi) wherein the at least one attachment member of the cup assembly is adapted to mate with the at least one releasable attachment member of the cup pocket, and (vii) wherein the waterproof covering covers the protective cup and the shaped piece of foam; and (e) wherein said cup assembly is inserted into the pocket of the garment.

2. The sport protector of claim 1, wherein the protective pads are fabricated from flexible polyurethane foam.

3. The sport protector of claim 1, wherein the protective pads are fabricated from memory foam.

4. The sports protector of claim 1, wherein each protective pad is covered with a waterproof material.

5. The sports protector of claim 1, wherein an unprotected center section of the garment is located above the protective cup pocket and between the protective pads for providing comfort to a user.

6. A boxing foul protector comprising: (a) a cup assembly; (b) a garment in the shape of a pair of short pants; (i) said garment being fabricated from an elastic material; (ii) said garment having an elastic waistband wherein the elasticity of the elastic waistband is greater than the elasticity of the elastic material from which the garment is fabricated; (iii) said garment having a pocket in the groin area of the garment for receiving the cup assembly, said pocket having an opening at its upper end, said pocket being form fit to said protective cup assembly for preventing movement of the protective cup assembly, said pocket having a releasable flap adapted to cover and uncover the pocket opening, the interior of said pocket being provided with at least one releasable attachment member adapted to be releasably attachable to a releasable attachment member on the cup assembly; (iv) said garment having a pair of side pockets formed into opposing sides of the garment each for receiving a protective pad, each said side pocket having a releasable opening; (v) wherein a portion of the garment at the lower periphery of each leg of the pants is adapted to be elastically form fit to a user's legs; (c) said cup assembly being comprised of: (i) a protective cup, (ii) a shaped piece of foam, (iii) a waterproof covering, and (iv) at least one attachment member on the waterproof covering, (v) wherein the foam is adapted to fit over the opening of the cup, sets upon the peripheral edges of the cup, provides padding between the peripheral edges of the cup and the groin area of the user, has an abdominal extension segment shaped and sized to provide padding for the user in the abdominal area above the cup, has a cut out which provides an opening into the protective cup, and is attached to the cup, (vi) wherein the at least one attachment member of the cup assembly is adapted to mate with the at least one releasable attachment member of the cup pocket, and (vii) wherein the waterproof covering covers the protective cup and the shaped piece of foam; (d) a pair of protective pads one of such pair of pads being inserted into each side pocket, each said protective pad being fabricated from foam, being covered with a waterproof material, being shaped to fit within a side pocket and being shaped to protect a frontal portion of a user's thigh, a distal lateral portion of a user's thigh and a portion of a user's back; and (e) wherein said cup assembly is inserted into the pocket of the garment.

7. The boxing foul protector of claim 6, wherein the garment is sized and shaped such that, when worn, its upper periphery is positioned substantially at the navel level of the user.

8. The boxing foul protector of claim 6, wherein an unprotected center section of the garment is located above the protective cup pocket and between the protective pads for providing comfort to a boxer.

9. The boxing foul protector of claim 6, wherein said garment has one or more releasable attachment members on its upper outer periphery for attachment to one or more mating releasable attachment members on the upper inner periphery of an outer garment.

10. A boxing foul protector comprising: (a) a cup assembly; (b) an undergarment in the shape of a pair of short pants; (i) said undergarment being fabricated from an elastic material; (ii) said undergarment having an elastic waistband wherein the elasticity of the elastic waistband is greater than the elasticity of the elastic material from which the undergarment is fabricated; (iii) said undergarment having one or more releasable attachment members on its upper outer periphery for attachment to one or more mating releasable attachment members on the upper inner periphery of a pair of boxing trunks; (iv) said garment having a pocket in the groin area of the garment for receiving the cup assembly, said pocket having an opening at its upper end, said pocket being form fit to said protective cup assembly for preventing movement of the protective cup assembly, said pocket having a releasable flap adapted to cover and uncover the pocket opening, the interior of said pocket being provided with at least one releasable attachment member adapted to be releasably attachable to a releasable attachment member on the cup assembly; (v) said undergarment having a pair of side pockets formed into opposing sides of the undergarment each for receiving a protective pad, each said side pocket having a releasable opening; (vi) wherein a portion of the undergarment at the lower periphery of each leg of the pants is adapted to be elastically form fit to a user's legs; (c) said cup assembly being comprised of: (i) a protective cup, (ii) a shaped piece of foam, (iii) a waterproof covering, and (iv) at least one attachment member on the waterproof covering, (v) wherein the foam is adapted to fit over the opening of the cup, sets upon the peripheral edges of the cup, provides padding between the peripheral edges of the cup and the groin area of the user, has an abdominal extension segment shaped and sized to provide padding for the user in the abdominal area above the cup, has a cut out which provides an opening into the protective cup, and is attached to the cup, (vi) wherein the at least one attachment member of the cup assembly is adapted to mate with the at least one releasable attachment member of the cup pocket, and (vii) wherein the waterproof covering covers the protective cup and the shaped piece of foam; (d) a pair of protective pads one of such pair of pads being inserted into each side pocket, each said protective pad being fabricated from memory foam, being covered with a waterproof material, being shaped to fit within a side pocket and being shaped to protect a frontal portion of a user's thigh and midsection, a distal lateral portion of a user's thigh and hip, and a portion of a user's back; (e) said cup assembly being inserted into the groin area pocket; (f) wherein the undergarment is sized and shaped such that, when worn, its upper periphery is positioned substantially at the navel level of the user; and (g) wherein an unprotected center section of the undergarment is located above the protective cup pocket and between the protective pads for providing comfort to a boxer.

11. The foul protector of claim 10, further comprising a pair of boxing trunks having one or more mating releasable attachment members on its upper inner periphery wherein the releasable attachment members on the boxing trunks are adapted to mate with the releasable attachment members of the undergarment.

12. The foul protector of claim 10, wherein the releasable attachment members and the releasable openings of the side pockets are comprised of hook and loop fasteners.

13. The foul protector of claim 10, wherein the waterproof material is Rainex.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/185,238 filed on Aug. 4, 2008. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/185,238 filed on Aug. 4, 2008 is incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

Somewhat standardized equipment is used in the sport of boxing. This equipment includes boxing trunks and a foul protector. A boxer wears a foul protector under his boxing trunks. The foul protector is designed to protect the boxer from punches below the belt. A traditional foul protector consists of a stiff piece of padding which wraps around the lower part of the boxer's midsection. The padding is configured to allow the boxer to sit without bending the padding. The front portion of the foul protector contains a protective cup to protect the boxer from punches in the groin area.

A number of problems are associated with traditional foul protectors. The foul protector restricts a boxer's mobility because of its stiffness. The foul protector is uncomfortable, especially when the boxer sits. The discomfort is caused by parts of the foul protector tending to dig into parts of the boxer's body. The stiffness of the traditional foul protector also limits its ability to protect some parts of the boxer's hips and legs.

What is needed is an improved foul protector. It would fit like an undergarment in the shape of short pants. It would fit under a boxer's trunks. It would be more comfortable than traditional foul protectors. It would have less restriction on a boxer's mobility. It would tend to form to the boxer's body. It would be light weight. It would not tend to dig into the boxer's abdomen when the boxer is sitting.

The improved foul protector could also be used in other contact sports. These include judo, rugby, karate, soccer and football. It could be used as an undergarment or an outer garment. The term sports protector is used herein to refer to a protector intended to be used in contact sports other than boxing.

SUMMARY

The improved the sports protector described herein addresses these needs. The basic components of a sports protector are a garment, a pair of protective pads and a protective cup. The garment is in the shape of a pair of short pants. The garment is fabricated from an elastic material such as spandex. The garment has a pocket in the groin area which is adapted to receive the protective cup. The garment has a pair of side pockets. The side pockets are formed into opposing sides of the garment. Each side pocket is adapted to receive a protective pad. One protective pad is inserted into each side pocket. Each protective padding shaped to fit within a side pocket. It is shaped to protect a frontal portion of the user's thigh, a distal lateral portion of the user's thigh and a portion of the user's back. The protective cup is inserted into the groin area pocket. The protective pad should be fabricated from a flexible polyurethane foam such as memory foam. The pads should be covered with a waterproof material.

The garment should have an elastic waistband wherein the elasticity of the elastic waistband is greater than the elasticity of the elastic material from which the garment is fabricated. In other words, the waistband should tend to stretch more from a given stress than the garment itself. The groin area pocket should be form fit to the protective cup. This will prevent movement of the protective cup. The groin area pocket should have a pair of releasable attachment members at its opening for releasably closing the pocket. The side pockets should also have a releasable opening. Preferably, the releasable attachment members of the groin area pocket and the side pocket releasable openings are comprised of Velcro.

The garment should be sized and shaped such that, when worn, its upper periphery is positioned substantially at the navel level of the user. This would allow the sports protector to comply with boxing standards which require that a foul protector rise no higher than the navel level of a boxer. There should be an unprotected center section of the garment located above the protective cup pocket and between the protective pads. By eliminating padding from this area the user can more comfortably sit. While sitting there would be no center section tending to dig into the user's abdomen. One or more releasable attachment members, such as Velcro, can be attached to the upper outer periphery of the garment. These attachment members are adapted to mate with releasable attachment members on the upper inner periphery of an outer garment, such as boxing trunks. Such attachment members will prevent a pair of boxing trunks from riding up over the top of a sports protector.

DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a prior art foul protector.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the prior art foul protector of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of an improved foul protector.

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the improved foul protector of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a side elevation view of the improved foul protector of FIG. 3, showing its configuration when a boxer is seated.

FIG. 6 is an exploded front elevation view of the improved foul protector of FIG. 3, showing the method for securing a pair of trunks to the improved foul protector of FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of the improved foul protector of FIG. 3, showing protective pads removed from their pockets and also showing a partial broken away view of the interior and exterior of a protective pad.

FIG. 8 is a front elevation view of a prior art foul protector.

FIG. 9 is a side elevation view of the prior art foul protector of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a front elevation view of a second embodiment of an improved foul protector.

FIG. 11 is a side elevation view of the second embodiment of the improved foul protector of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a side elevation view of the improved foul protector of FIG. 10, showing its configuration when a boxer is seated.

FIG. 13 is an exploded front elevation view of the improved foul protector of FIG. 10, showing the method for securing a pair of trunks to the improved foul protector of FIG. 10.

FIG. 14 is an exploded perspective view of the improved foul protector (second embodiment) of FIG. 10, showing protective pads removed from their pockets and also showing a partial broken away view of the interior and exterior of a protective pad.

FIG. 15 is a sectional elevation view of the cup assembly of FIG. 14.

FIG. 16 is an enlarged broken away sectional view of the cup assembly of FIG. 15.

FIG. 17 is a sectional elevation view of the cup assembly of FIG. 14, wherein the cup assembly is inserted into the cup pocket of the garment.

FIG. 18 is an enlarged broken away sectional view of the cup assembly and garment of FIG. 17.

DESCRIPTION

The preferred embodiment of an improved foul protector 20 is shown in FIGS. 10-14. It is comprised of an undergarment 22, a pair of protective pads 40 and a protective cup 52. For comparison purposes a prior art embodiment of a foul protector 18 is shown in FIG. 8 and FIG. 9.

The undergarment 22 is in the shape of a pair of short pants. It is fabricated from an elastic material. The preferred material for fabrication of the undergarment 22 is 14 Count spandex. Spandex is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity. It is stronger and more durable than rubber. The most famous brand name associated with spandex is LYCRA. Spandex is produced as monofilament or fused multi-filament yams in a variety of deniers. Different cross-sectional areas of the filaments result in the spandex having different weights and elasticities. Thus, the weight and elasticity of the undergarment 22 can be controlled by using different types of spandex. The preferred embodiment of an improved foul protector 20 is intended to be worn under a pair of boxing trunks 54. In other embodiments of sports protectors (e.g. protectors intended for use in sports other than boxing) the undergarment 22 may actually be an outer garment.

The undergarment 22 has an elastic waistband 24. The elasticity of the elastic waistband 24 is greater than the elasticity of the elastic material from which the undergarment 22 is fabricated. What is meant by this is that the elastic waistband 24 will stretch more than the undergarment 22 for a given force or stress. The waistband 24 is stretchier than the undergarment 22. In other words, a given amount of tensile force or stress will elongate the elastic waistband 24 more than it will elongate the undergarment 22. Another way of saying this is that if the elastic waistband 24 and the undergarment 22 have the same thickness, the modulus of elasticity of the elastic waistband 24 material is less than the modulus of elasticity of the undergarment 22 material.

The undergarment 22 has one or more releasable attachment members 26 on its upper outer periphery, as shown in FIG. 14. The attachment members 26 on the undergarment 22 are intended to releasably mate with releasable attachment members 56 on the upper inner periphery of a pair of boxing trunks 54. This is shown in FIG. 13. As can be seen from this figure, the attachment members 56 secure the boxing trunks 54 to the foul protector 20 by adhering to the attachment members 26 of the undergarment 22. Preferably, the releasable attachment members 26, 56 of the undergarment 22 and the boxing trunks 54, as well as the releasable openings 34 of the side pockets 32 and the protective cup pocket 28 releasable attachment members 30 of the undergarment 22 are comprised of hook and loop fasteners, such as Velcro. This will permit the boxing trunks 54 to be quickly and easily attached and detached to the undergarment 22. It will also allow the cup pocket 28 and the side pockets 32 to be quickly and easily opened and closed for insertion and removal of a protective cup 52 and protective pads 40, respectively. It is important for the boxing trunks 54 to be secured to the undergarment 22. If the trunks 54 were not secured they would tend to ride up and over the undergarment 22 during use.

Each hook and loop fastener should be a strip of material with a surface of minute hooks or a surface of uncut pile. One surface should be a hook surface and the other surface should be a pile surface. Such fasteners are currently being sold under the tradename VELCRO. VELCRO is a synthetic material sold in ribbon, sheet, or piece goods form. The material has complemental parts which adhere to each other when pressed together and is adapted for use as a closure fastener, or button for closing garments, curtains, or the like.

The undergarment 22 has a cup pocket 28 in the groin area of the undergarment 22. The cup pocket 28 is shaped to receive the protective cup 52. The cup pocket 28 is form fit to the protective cup 52. This prevents movement of the protective cup 52. If the cup pocket 28 is not form fit to the protective cup 52, but rather larger than the protective cup 52, the protective cup 52 will have a tendency to exhibit excessive movement during a boxing match, thereby causing discomfort to the boxer. In particular, the protective cup 52 could be driven into the thighs or abdomen of the boxer. An oversize pocket in the undergarment can be converted to a form fit cup pocket 28 by stitching through both sides of the cup pocket 28. The stitching is applied in such a way that a form fit cup pocket 28 is created which will prevent excessive movement of the protective cup 52 when it is inserted into the cup pocket 28. The cup pocket 28 has a pair of releasable attachment members 30 at its opening. The attachment members 30 should be hook and loop fasteners, such as Velcro, as described above. This will allow the cup pocket 28 to be quickly opened and closed for insertion and removal of the protective cup 52.

The undergarment 22 has a pair of side pockets 32 formed into opposing sides of the undergarment, as shown in FIG. 14. Each side pockets 32 is sized and shaped to receive a protective pad 40. Each side pocket 32 also has a releasable opening 34. The releasable opening 34 permits a protective pad 40 to be quickly and easily inserted into or removed from a side pocket 32. The releasable opening 34 also securely retains the protective pad 40 within the side pocket 32 when the releasable opening 34 is closed. The releasable opening 34 is preferably comprised of hook and loop fasteners (e.g. Velcro) attached to each side of the side pocket 32 at its opening, as shown in FIG. 7.

A portion 36 of the undergarment 22 extends below each side pocket at the lower periphery of each leg of the pants. This portion 36 of the undergarment 22 is adapted to be elastically form fit to a user's legs. Therefore, the elastic portion 36 at the lower periphery of each leg of the undergarment 22 will hug (or at least be narrowed at) the boxer's legs during use. This will provide muscle support. Muscle support will help prevent injuries and enhance healing of injured muscles.

A protective pad 40 is inserted into each side pocket 32. Each protective pad 40 is shaped and sized to fit within the side pocket 32 within which it is inserted. Each protective pad is shaped and sized to protect a frontal portion 42 of a user's thigh and midsection; a distal lateral portion 44 of a user's thigh, midsection and hip; and a portion of a user's back 46. The term midsection is intended to include the oblique area of the body as well as the abdominal area above the pubic bone. This configuration can be seen in FIG. 7. Preferably, the portions 46 of the protective pads 40 which protect the user's back should almost touch each other where they come together over the user's tailbone area. It should be clear that the protective pads 40 shown in FIG. 14 protect a larger below the belt body area than the prior art foul protector 18 shown in FIG. 8 and FIG. 9.

Preferably, the protective pads 40 are fabricated from memory foam 50. Other common shock absorbing resilient materials may also be used. Memory foam is made from polyurethane with additional chemicals that add to its viscosity level, thereby increasing its density. It is often referred to as visco-elastic polyurethane foam. The chemical family to which it is assigned is: flexible polyurethane foam. Depending on the chemicals used and its overall density, it is firmer in cool temperatures and softer when warm. Higher density memory foam reacts to body heat which allows it to mold itself to the shape of a warm body within a few minutes. A lower density memory foam is pressure-sensitive and will mold more quickly to the shape of the body. The example often used to demonstrate its properties is that a hand pressed into the foam and then removed will leave a clear impression in the foam.

Memory foam was originally developed by NASA to decrease the very high pressure caused by the extreme g-force occurring during the takeoff of the space shuttle. It was never used in the space program but was subsequently used medically, for example by patients who used to lie in bed on hard or very firm mattresses for long periods of time without regularly moving such as being bed-bound after a paralyzing stroke. The pressure over some of their bony regions decreased or stopped the blood flow to the region causing horrific pressure sores and/or gangrene. Memory foam mattresses helped hugely to decrease such events. The property of firmness (hard to soft) of memory foam is used in determining comfort. The firmness is measured by the foam's IFD rating—Indentation Force Deflection rating.

The preferred memory foam 50 thickness for the protective pads 40 is 1 inch. Protective pads 40 fabricated from 1 inch thick memory foam 50 absorb shock better than the stiffer padding from which prior art foul protectors 18 are fabricated. They also mold to the user's body much better than prior art foul protectors 18. This is particularly useful if the user has a body deformity. This property allows protective pads 40 to be sized and shaped such that they protect larger body areas of a user and provide enhanced comfort to a user, especially when sitting.

Memory foam 50 comprising the protective pads 40 should be covered with a waterproof covering 48. This will prevent sweat from the user from invading the memory foam 50. I have found the preferred waterproof material to be a Rainex material comprised of 30% polyester, 55% nylon and 15% Lycra.

The protective cup 52 is in the shape of a traditional athletic cup used for protection of the groin area and fabricated from similar hard materials. The protective cup 52 is inserted into the groin area pocket 28. It is sealed into the groin area pocket 28 by mating the releasable attachment members 30 at the pocket opening. The form fit nature of the cup pocket 28 limits the movement of the protective cup 52 during use, thereby preventing discomfort caused by shifting of the protective cup 52 and embedment of the protective cup 52 into the user's body.

In an alternate embodiment of this invention intended for use by women, a protective cup 52 is not used. Instead, the cup pocket 28 is simply a pocket adapted to receive a piece of memory foam. A piece of memory foam is inserted into the pocket 28 to provide groin area protection for the woman boxer. The memory foam should be covered with a waterproof material such as Rainex. The reason that this pad, as well as each protective pad 40, is covered with a waterproof material is because of the tendency of memory foam to absorb moisture and sweat. Memory foam has a significantly greater tendency to absorb moisture as compared to other types of foams, such as closed cell polyolefin foams.

The undergarment 22 is sized and shaped such that, when worn, its upper periphery is positioned substantially at the navel level of the user. This provides maximum midsection protection to the user, yet complies with boxing standards which prohibit foul protectors from being worn above the navel.

The preferred embodiment of the foul protector 20 has an unprotected center section 38 of the undergarment 22. The unprotected center section 38 of the undergarment 22 is located above the protective cup pocket 28 and between the protective pads 40, as shown in FIG. 10 and FIG. 14. The protective pads 40 do not extend into this region. In an alternate version of a foul protector 20 the protective pads 40 do extend into this center section. However, most boxers prefer to have the center section 38 unprotected for comfort reasons. When a boxer is sitting between rounds the center section of a traditional foul protector 18 tends to dig into the abdomen of the boxer causing significant discomfort. As a result, the boxer's trainer is often seen tugging the foul protector 18 away from the boxer's abdomen when the boxer is sitting between rounds. The unprotected center section 38 of the preferred foul protector 20 described herein eliminates such discomfort caused by the foul protector digging into the abdomen of the boxer. The unprotected center section 38 should be comprised of a portion of the elastic waistband 24 and a portion of the undergarment 22 positioned above the protective cup pocket 28 and between the frontal portions 42 of the protective pads 40. The protective pads 40 do not extend into the unprotected center section 38. Alternatively, the unprotected center section 38 may be protected by foam. Preferably, memory foam would abut the outer periphery of the protective cup 52 and extend into the previously unprotected center section 38.

A pair of boxing trunks 54 is shown in FIG. 13. The boxing trunks have a plurality of releasable attachment members 56 (hook and loop fasteners such as Velcro) on its upper periphery, as shown in FIG. 13. The releasable attachment members 56 on the boxing trunks 54 are adapted to mate with the releasable attachment members 26 of the undergarment 22. When the attachment members 56 of the boxing trunks 54 are attached to the releasable attachment members 26 of the undergarment 22, the boxing trunks 54 are secured to the foul protector 20. This attachment prevents the boxing trunks 54 from riding up over the foul protector 20.

In order to use an improved foul protector 20, a foul protector 20 is first selected. The protective pads 40 are inserted into their respective side pockets 32 and the releasable openings 34 of the side pockets are closed. The protective cup 52 is inserted into the protective cup pocket 28 of the undergarment 22 and the opening of that pocket is closed. The foul protector 20 is worn by the user similar to the way that a pair of short pants are worn. Boxing trunks 54 are pulled up over the foul protector 20. The releasable attachment members 56 of the boxing trunks 54 are secured to the releasable attachment members 26 of the undergarment 22, thereby securing the boxing trunks 54 to the foul protector 18. After use is completed the releasable attachment members 56 of the boxing trunks 54 are detached from the releasable attachment members 26 of the undergarment 22 and the boxing trunks 54 are removed. Then the foul protector 20 is removed from the user's body. If desired, the protective cup 52 may be removed from the protective cup pocket 28 and one or both of the protective pads 40 may be removed from their respective side pockets 32.

In an alternate preferred embodiment the cup pocket 28 has a modified configuration. The cup pocket 28 is shaped to receive a cup assembly 60. The cup pocket 28 is form fit to the protective cup assembly 60. This prevents movement of the protective cup assembly 60, as previously described.

The protective cup assembly 60 is comprised of a protective cup 52, a shaped piece of foam 62, a waterproof covering 64, a front releasable attachment member 66, and a rear releasable attachment member 68. FIGS. 14-17 illustrate the protective cup assembly 60. The protective cup 52 is in the shape of a conventional athletic protective cup. Preferably, the shaped piece of a foam 62 is ¾ memory foam. The foam 62 is adapted to fit over the opening of the protective cup 52. It sets upon the peripheral edges 53 of the protective cup 52 which define the protective cup 52 opening. The foam 62 provides padding between the peripheral edges 53 of the protective cup 52 and the groin area of the user. The upper end of the foam 62 has an abdominal extension segment 63. The abdominal extension segment 63 of the foam 52 is shaped and sized to provide padding for the user within the previously described unprotected the center section 38 of the garment 22. Some, or all of the unprotected center section 38 may be provided with padding. When the protector 20 with the cup assembly 60 inserted into it is worn by a user the abdominal extension segment 63 will lie flat against the abdomen of the user and provide padding and protection from external contact, such as a punch, in this area. Additionally, the abdominal extension segment 63 remains flexible and comfortable because of its foam construction. Therefore, a user is not required to decide between comfort and protection. The abdominal extension segment 63 provides protection. It is also comfortable to wear. The user may sit and bend without having the abdominal extension segment 63 dig into the user's abdomen. This is an improvement over a traditional boxing foul protector which is stiff and rigid in this center abdominal area. At the same time, the abdominal extension segment 63 provides protection.

The shaped piece of foam 62 has a cut out 65. The cut out 65 provides an opening into the protective cup 52. The abdominal extension segment 63 lies above the cut out 65 when the cup pocket assembly 60 is in use. The part of the shaped piece of foam 62 which is below the abdominal extension segment 63 and which rests upon the peripheral edges 53 of the protective cup 52 should be about 1 inch wide. It should be centered upon the peripheral edges 53 of the protective cup 52. Thus, about ½″ of the foam will extend into the protective cup 52 opening and the other ½″ of the foam will extend external to the cup opening. The same material which is used for the waterproof covering 64 should be used to seal the interface between the external periphery of the protective cup 52 and the foam 62. This is illustrated in FIGS. 15-17. A waterproof seal 67 is adhered to an external portion of the protective cup 52 and the foam 62 along the peripheral edges 53 of the protective cup 52. An adhesive is used to secure the waterproof seal 67 to the protective cup 52 and the foam 62. Optionally, a waterproof seal may be similarly used between an internal portion of the protective cup 52 and the foam 62. The foam 62 should also be secured directly to the peripheral edges 53 of the opening of the protective cup 52 with an adhesive.

The waterproof covering 64 covers the protective cup 52 and the shaped piece of foam 62. This is illustrated in FIGS. 15-18. Preferably, the waterproof covering 64 is fabricated from Rainex material. The waterproof covering 64 has an inner side 70 and an outer side 72. The inner side 70 fits within the opening of the protective cup 52 the outer side 72 covers the external periphery of the protective cup 52. The waterproof covering 64 is shaped to form fit over the external periphery of the protective cup 52 and to form fit within the internal periphery of the protective cup 52. Preferably, the outer side 72 of the waterproof covering is secured to the external periphery of the protective cup 52 with an adhesive and the inner side 70 of the waterproof covering 64 is also secured to the external periphery of the protective cup 52 with an adhesive. This will minimize movement between the waterproof covering 64 and the protective cup 52 during use. The durability and padding properties of memory foam are affected by moisture. The waterproof covering 64 and the waterproof seal 67 isolate the foam 62 from sweat of the user and from other sources of moisture.

The outer side 72 of the waterproof covering 64 is provided with a front releasable attachment member 66. The inner side 70 of the waterproof covering 64 is provided with a rear releasable attachment member 68. Preferably, the releasable attachment members 66, 68 are hook and loop fasteners, such as Velcro. The attachment members 66, 68 are placed above the protective cup 52. They are positioned to mate with mating releasable attachment members within the cup pocket 28 of the garment 22. Thus, when the cup assembly 60 is placed within the cup pocket 60 of the garment 22, the cup assembly 60 is secured to the cup pocket 28 by the releasable attachment members 66, 68.

The cup pocket 28 of the garment 22 has an opening 29 at its upper end which allows the cup assembly 60 to be inserted and removed. A releasable flap 80 is adapted to cover and uncover the pocket opening 29. It is further adapted to securely hold the cup assembly 60 within the cup pocket 28 when the flap 80 securely covers the pocket opening 29. Hook and loop fasteners, such as Velcro, between the flap 80 and the cup pocket 28 may be used to make the flap 80 releasable.

The interior portion of the cup pocket 28 is provided with releasable attachment members 82. These releasable attachment members 82 are preferably hook and loop fasteners, such as Velcro. The releasable attachment members 82 within the cup pocket 28 are positioned to mate with the releasable attachment members 66, 68 of the cup assembly 60. When the attachment members 66, 68 of the cup assembly 60 mate with the attachment members 82 of the cup pocket 28, the cup assembly 60 is securely positioned and held within the cup pocket 28. The cup assembly 60 will remain well positioned within the cup pocket 28 even when it is subjected to significant external forces such as those commonly encountered during a boxing match.

Although the invention has been shown and described with reference to certain preferred embodiments and methods, those skilled in the art undoubtedly will find alternative embodiments and methods obvious after reading this disclosure. With this in mind, the following claims are intended to define the scope of protection to be afforded the inventor, and those claims shall be deemed to include equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.





 
Previous Patent: Sports Protector

Next Patent: BATHROOM AIR-CONDITIONER