Title:
NON-EPAULET SHOULDER PAD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement covers the shoulders of an athlete and has a pair of arches of rigid moldable material made up of a chest panel, a back panel and a curved crest connected between the chest and back panels. The crest is shaped and sized to cover one shoulder of the athlete and has an outer end for covering an outer end of the shoulder. The chest and back panels are connected to each other over the chest and back of the athlete and no portion of the arrangement is over or above an upper surface of the crest so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement.



Inventors:
Wingo, James Calvin (Sugarland, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/598085
Publication Date:
04/22/2010
Filing Date:
04/29/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/467, 2/463
International Classes:
A41D13/00; A41D27/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLINS, ANDREW WARREN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NOTARO, MICHALOS & ZACCARIA P.C. (ORANGEBURG, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement for covering the shoulders of an athlete, comprising: a pair of arches each made of rigid moldable material and each having; a chest panel for covering part of the chest of the athlete; a back panel for covering part of the back of the athlete; and a curved crest connected between the chest panel and the back panel, the crest being shaped and sized to cover one shoulder of the athlete and having an outer end for covering an outer end of the shoulder, the crest having an upper surface; the chest panels of the pair of arches being connected to each other over the chest of the athlete and the back panels of the pair of arches being connected to each other over the back of the athlete; the chest and back panels with the connected curved crest connected there-between together forming a neck opening for each side a the neck of the athlete; and a pair of concave caps each connected to and extending outwardly from the outer end of one crest, each cap having no portion that is over or above the upper surface of the crest so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement and no part of the arrangement extends above the upper surface of each crest.

2. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 1, wherein each curved crest includes a plurality of corrugations for increasing the rigidity of the crest and for forming chambers on an inner surface of the crest at each corrugation, with at least one vent hole in at least some of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest and out of the chambers.

3. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 1, wherein each curved crest includes a plurality of corrugations for increasing the rigidity of the crest and for forming chambers on an inner surface of the crest at each corrugation, with at least one vent hole in at least some of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest and out of the chambers, each of the chest and back panels including at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of the panel and for forming chambers on an inner surface of the chest and back panels at each corrugation, and with a plurality of vent holes in each corrugation of each of the chest and back panels for venting air and moisture across each panel and out of the chambers.

4. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 1, wherein each curved crest includes a plurality of corrugations for increasing the rigidity of the crest with at least one vent hole in at least one of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest, and each of the chest and back panels including at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of the panel with a plurality of vent holes in each corrugation of each of the chest and back panels for venting air and moisture across each panel, the corrugations of each crest including a top lozenge-shaped corrugation and a pair of curved side corrugations on each of a chest and back side of the crest that are concave toward the lozenge-shaped corrugation, the corrugations of each crest extending from the neck opening to the outer end of the crest for increasing a lateral strength of each crest, each corrugation forming an inner surface chamber near the athlete and the vent holes functioning to vent air and moisture out of each chamber and away from the athlete.

5. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 1, wherein each curved crest includes a plurality of corrugations for increasing the rigidity of the crest with at least one vent hole in at least one of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest, and each of the chest and back panels including at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of the panel with at least one vent hole in each corrugation of each of the chest and back panels for venting air and moisture across each panel, the corrugations of each crest including a top lozenge-shaped corrugation and a pair of curved side corrugations on each of a chest and back side of the crest, the crest corrugations extending from the neck opening to the outer end of the crest for increasing a lateral strength of the crest, each corrugation forming an inner surface chamber near the athlete and the vent holes functioning to vent air and moisture out of each chamber and away from the athlete.

6. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 1, wherein each curved crest includes a plurality of corrugations for increasing the rigidity of the crest with at least one vent hole in at least one of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest, and each of the chest and back panels including at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of the panel with at least one vent hole in each corrugation of each of the chest and back panels for venting air and moisture across each panel, the corrugations of each crest including a top boat-shaped corrugation with a flat base at the neck opening and a pointed outer end, and a pair of curved side corrugations on each of a chest and back side of the crest, each curved side corrugation having flat base at the neck opening and pointed outer end, each corrugation forming an inner surface chamber near the athlete and the vent holes functioning to vent air and moisture out of each chamber and away from the athlete.

7. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 1, wherein each curved crest includes a plurality of corrugations for increasing the rigidity of the crest with at least one vent hole in at least one of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest, and each of the chest and back panels including at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of the panel with at least one vent hole in each corrugation of each of the chest and back panels for venting air and moisture across each panel, the corrugations of each crest including a top boat-shaped corrugation with a flat base at the neck opening and a pointed outer end, and a pair of curved side corrugations on each of a chest and back side of the crest, each curved side corrugation having flat base at the neck opening and pointed outer end, the corrugation of each of the panels being polygonal, each corrugation forming an inner surface chamber near the athlete and the vent holes functioning to vent air and moisture out of each chamber and away from the athlete.

8. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 1, wherein each curved crest includes a plurality of corrugations for increasing the rigidity of the crest with at least one vent hole in at least one of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest, each cap including at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of each cap.

9. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 1, wherein each curved crest includes a plurality of corrugations for increasing the rigidity of the crest with at least one vent hole in at least one of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest, each cap including a pair of V-shaped corrugations that are open toward the crest and outwardly pointed.

10. An epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement for covering the shoulders of an athlete, comprising: a pair of arches each made of rigid moldable material and each having; a chest panel for covering part of the chest of the athlete; a back panel for covering part of the back of the athlete; and a curved crest connected between the chest panel and the back panel, the crest being shaped and sized to cover one shoulder of the athlete and having an outer end for covering an outer end of the shoulder, the crest having an upper surface; the chest panels of the pair of arches being connected to each other over the chest of the athlete and the back panels of the pair of arches being connected to each other over the back of the athlete; the chest and back panels with the connected curved crest connected there-between together forming a neck opening for each side a the neck of the athlete; each curved crest including a plurality of corrugations extending from the neck opening to the outer end of the crest for increasing a lateral strength of the crest and for increasing the rigidity of the crest with at least one vent hole in at least one of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest; and each of the chest and back panels including at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of the panel with a plurality of vent holes in each corrugation of each of the chest and back panels for venting air and moisture across each panel; each corrugation forming an inner surface chamber near the athlete and the vent holes functioning to vent air and moisture out of each chamber and away from the athlete; and no portion of the arrangement extending over or above the upper surface of the crest so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement so that the arrangement forms a low profile over the shoulders of the athlete.

11. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 10, including a pair of concave caps each connected to and extending outwardly from the outer end of one crest, each cap having no portion that is over or above the upper surface of the crest so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement and no part of the arrangement extends above the upper surface of each crest.

12. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 10, including a pair of concave caps each connected to and extending outwardly from the outer end of one crest, each cap having no portion that is over or above the upper surface of the chest so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement and no part of the arrangement extends above the upper surface of each crest, the corrugations of each crest including a top boat-shaped corrugation with a flat base at the neck opening and a pointed outer end, and a pair of curved side corrugations on each of a chest and back side of the crest that are concave toward the boat-shaped corrugation, each curved side corrugation having flat base at the neck opening and pointed outer end, the corrugations of each crest extending from the neck opening to the outer end of the crest for increasing a lateral strength of each crest, the corrugations of each of the panels being polygonal.

13. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 10, including a pair of concave caps each connected to and extending outwardly from the outer end of one crest, each cap having no portion that is over or above the upper surface of the chest so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement and no part of the arrangement extends above the upper surface of each crest, each cap including at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of each cap.

14. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 10, including a pair of concave caps each connected to and extending outwardly from the outer end of one crest, each cap having no portion that is over or above the upper surface of the chest so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement and no part of the arrangement extends above the upper surface of each crest, each cap including a pair of V-shaped corrugations that are open toward the crest and outwardly pointed.

15. The epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 10, wherein each curved crest includes a plurality of corrugations for increasing the rigidity of the crest with at least one vent hole in at least one of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest, and each of the chest and back panels including at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of the panel with at least one vent hole in each corrugation of each of the chest and back panels for venting air and moisture across each panel, the corrugations of each crest including a top lozenge-shaped corrugation and a pair of curved side corrugations on each of a chest and back side of the crest, the crest corrugations extending from the neck opening to the outer end of the crest for increasing a lateral strength of the crest.

16. An athletic shoulder pad arrangement for covering the shoulders of an athlete, comprising: a pair of arches each made of rigid moldable material and each having; a chest panel for covering part of the chest of the athlete; a back panel for covering part of the back of the athlete; and a curved crest made of rigid moldable material and being connected between the chest panel and the back panel of each arch, each crest being shaped and sized to cover at least parts of one shoulder of the athlete, the crest having an upper surface and an inner surface; the chest panels of the pair of arches being connected to each other over the chest of the athlete and the back panels of the pair of arches being connected to each other over the back of the athlete; the chest and back panels with the connected curved crest connected there-between together forming a neck opening for each side of the neck of the athlete; each curved crest including a plurality of corrugations for increasing the rigidity of the crest and for forming a chamber at the inner surface of the crest, with at least one vent hole in at least some of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest; and each of the chest and back panels including an inner surface and at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of the panel and for forming a chamber at the inner surface of each chest and back panel, with a plurality of vent holes in each corrugation of each of the chest and back panels for venting air and moisture across each panel from each chamber near the athlete, the vent holes functioning to vent air and moisture out of each chamber and away from the athlete.

17. The athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 16, including a pair of concave caps each made of rigid moldable material and each being connected to and extending outwardly from the outer end of one crest, each cap having no portion that is over or above the upper surface of the chest so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement and no part of the arrangement extends above the upper surface of each crest so that the arrangement forms a low profile over the shoulders of the athlete, each cap including at least one corrugation for increasing the rigidity of each cap, the corrugations of each crest including a top lozenge-shaped corrugation, and a pair of curved side corrugations on each of a chest and back side of the crest that are concave to the lozenge-shaped corrugation, the crest corrugations extending from the neck opening to the outer end of the crest for increasing a lateral strength of the crest, the corrugations of each of the panels being polygonal.

18. The athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 16, wherein each top lozenge-shaped corrugation of each crest is a top boat-shaped corrugation with a flat base at the neck opening and a pointed outer end, and the curved corrugations on each side of the crest having flat base at the neck opening and pointed outer end.

19. The athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 16, wherein the polygonal corrugation of the chest panel is arrowhead shaped with a downwardly pointed lower end and a V-shaped upper end, each chest panel including a further triangular corrugation below each arrowhead shaped corrugation.

20. The athletic shoulder pad arrangement according to claim 16, wherein each cap includes a pair of V-shaped corrugation that are open toward the crest and are outwardly pointed.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority on U.S. Provisional Patent Application 60/927,341 filed May 3, 2007, and is a national phase of PCT/US2008/061840 filed Apr. 29, 2008 which is incorporated here by reference.

FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of protective garments for athletics, and in particular to a new and useful pad arrangement for protecting the shoulders of an athlete, particularly a football player.

Shoulder pads for football have always had a separate attached epaulet at the top of the arch on each side of the known pads. This is in conjunction with crests of each arch that only cover part of the athlete's shoulder, the remaining out part of the shoulders being covered by the epaulets that also partly overlap the crests. These separate epaulets were thought to be essential for protecting the outer area of the athlete's shoulders against impact. These same epaulets had the adverse effect of providing the athlete's opponent with a handhold for grabbing the athlete and also gave the athletes wearing these pads with epaulets a high, unnatural looking profile at the shoulders.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The inventor has found that by extending the crest of each arch out to cover the outer end or tip of the athlete's shoulder, there is no need for an epaulet. This defines the shoulder pad arrangement of the invention as a non-epaulet or epaulet-free pad arrangement. The area of the arch that extends over and above the shoulders is corrugated with no epaulet attached to the top of the arch. By removing the epaulet a clean lower profile appearance is achieved. With no epaulet attached to the arch this removes the part that can be garbed by other players or hang up with another piece of equipment. It also eliminates maintenance and repairs by eliminating these parts.

It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide an epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement that covers the shoulders of an athlete and that has a pair of arches of rigid moldable material made up of a chest panel, a back panel and a curved crest connected between the chest and back panels. The crest is shaped and sized to cover one shoulder of the athlete and has an outer end for covering an outer end of the shoulder. The chest and back panels are connected to each other over the chest and back of the athlete and no portion of the arrangement is over or above an upper surface of the crest so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement for a lower clean profile with no epaulets that can be grabbed by an opponent.

Another object of the invention is to provide the arrangement with a pair of concave caps each connected to and extending outwardly from the outer end of one crest, each cap having no portion that is over or above the upper surface of the crest so that again, there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement and no part of the arrangement extends above the upper surface of each crest.

Another object of the invention is to provide an athletic shoulder pad arrangement that has arches with crest, chest and back panels that each have one or more corrugations that form air chambers on inner surfaces of the panels. The corrugations increase the rigidity of the crest, chest and back panels and each corrugation advantageously includes one or preferably multiple vent holes for venting air and moisture that accumulates in the chambers, across each crest or panel and out of the chamber, that is, from below the corrugation of the crest or chest or back panels near the athlete's body, through the corrugations and outwardly away from the athlete. The movements of the athlete while wearing the shoulder pad arrangement of the invention cause the volume of each corrugation chamber to change and this effectively helps to actively pump the moist air out of the chambers through the vent holes.

The various features of novelty which characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and specific objects attained by its uses, reference is made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of an non-epaulet or epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement for covering the shoulders of an athlete according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective and partly assembled view thereof but with slightly different caps; and

FIG. 3 is a front, top perspective view of the left shoulder pad components of another embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings, in which like reference numerals are used to refer to the same or similar elements, FIG. 1 shows a non-epaulet or epaulet-free athletic shoulder pad arrangement for covering the shoulders of an athlete A. The arrangement comprises a pair of arches 12 and 14 made of rigid moldable material such as plastic, composite materials, carbon fiber, carbon/nylon blends or other suitable moldable material that is known or hereafter discovered for use in molding the rigid parts of the shoulder pads for protecting the shoulders of football, hockey, lacrosse or other contact sport players, and which, importantly, has no separate epaulets or pads over any part of the athlete's shoulders, such epaulets always being present and thought to be essential in currently known shoulder pad arrangements to cushion blows on the shoulders.

As also shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the arches 12 and 14 each have a chest panel 20 for covering part of the chest of the athlete, a back panel 22 for covering part of the back of the athlete, and a curved crest or top portion 24 connected between the chest panel 20 and the back panel 22 of each arch. Each crest 24 is shaped and sized to cover one shoulder S of the athlete 10 and has an outer end 26 for covering an outer end of the shoulder at E. The crest 24 of the invention must extends from a location on the athlete's shoulder that is near the athlete's neck N, all that way to the end of the shoulder at E in order to replace the structure and function of the epaulet in a simple but unexpectedly effective manner. By eliminating the epaulets the additional advantages of lowering the athlete's profile at the shoulders, eliminating hand-holds for the athlete's opponents, eliminating the problem of epaulets hanging on other equipment, reducing maintenance and repair issues associated with the epaulets, and reducing the number of molded parts needed, are also realized by the invention.

The chest panels 20 of the pair of arches 12 and 14, are connected to each other over the chest of the athlete by webs, straps or flexible plastic bands 28 and the back panels are likewise connected to each other over the back of the athlete by webs, straps or flexible plastic bands 30. In FIG. 2 only the back panel bands 30 are shown while the chest panel bands 28 visible in FIG. 1 are absent to illustrate an intermediate step in the assembly of the invention.

The chest and back panels 20 and 22, with the connected curved crests 24 connected there-between together forming a neck opening for each side of the neck N of the athlete A and each curved chest 24 includes a plurality of corrugations 32, 34 and 36, for increasing the rigidity of the crest with at least one vent hole 38 in at least one of the corrugations of each crest for venting air and moisture across each crest. Crest corrugations 32, 34 and 36 advantageously extend from the neck opening to the outer end of each crest to give the crest lateral strength to absorb a blow inflicted at the outer end of the crest without bending. This helps spread the impact out across the entire crest and underlying padding (not shown). This lateral extent of the crest corrugations also allow the crest 24 to bend in a front-to-back direction so that the chest and back panels 20 and 22 can be pulled closely against the athlete's body.

Each of the chest and back panels also include at least one corrugation, for example at 40, 42, 44, 46 and 48, for increasing the rigidity of the panels with at least one but preferably many vent holes 50 in each corrugation of each of the chest and back panels as well, for venting air and moisture across each panel.

The term corrugation for this disclosure means a raised area that is generally in a parallel curved or flat outer plane to the plane of the rest of the panel or crest, and that is separated from the remainder of the panel or crest by a continuous ridge that extends around the corrugation to raise it to the out plane and thus create an air chamber on inner surfaces of the crest and panels. Each corrugation advantageously includes one or, especially for the chest and back panels, multiple vent holes for venting air and moisture that accumulates in the chambers, across each crest or panel and out of the chamber. Thus, moist, hot air from near the athlete's body moves from below the corrugation of the crest or chest or back panels near the athlete's body, through the corrugations and outwardly away from the athlete. As noted above, movements of the athlete while wearing the shoulder pad arrangement of the invention, which are often extreme especially during play, cause the volume of each corrugation chamber to change and this effectively helps to actively pump the moist air out of the chambers through the vent holes and way from the athlete. The vent holes are advantageously each 5 mm in diameter and the depth of each corrugation chamber is preferable at least 3/16″ from the crest or panel plane to the corrugation plane.

Each arch 12 and 14, with panels and crest is made of one piece of molded material, and the strategically located and shaped corrugations add mechanical strength to each member to better maintain its shape and to better resist and spread the impact of external blows, to protect the athlete wearing the assembly.

The shoulder pad assembly of the invention is also only the molded arches 12 and 14 as described in detail above, as well as cap members to be described below. It will be understood by a person of ordinary skill in this field that a finished set of shoulder pads will also include other known components such as covered foam padding under each arch and cap, and straps and belts for holding the shoulder pads to the athlete.

The feature of primary importance of the invention is that no portion of the arrangement extends over or above the upper surface of the crests 24 so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement.

A pair of concave caps 52, each made of rigid moldable material of the same or a different type as the arches 12 and 14, are connected to, and extend outwardly from the outer end 26 of each crest 24. Each cap 52 also has no portion that is over or above the upper surface of the chest 24 so that there is no epaulet needed or present in the arrangement and no part of the arrangement extends above the upper surface of each crest. Again the arrangement thus forms a low profile over the shoulders of the athlete. Each cap also includes at least one corrugation 54 for increasing the rigidity of each cap, and preferably includes two V-shaped corrugations 54 and 56 that are open toward the crest and outwardly pointed as in FIG. 3, or are upside down V-shapes as in the embodiment of FIG. 1. In FIG. 2 the cap corrugations are substantially straight and extend horizontally. The caps 52 are connected the crests 24 by webs, straps or flexible plastic bands 58. This allows the caps 52 to fold down toward the outer tip of the athlete's shoulder when his jersey covers the shoulder padding to protect the athlete's upper arms, outer deltoids and the tip of his shoulder. As with webs, straps or bands 28 and 30, each band 58 can be connected by rivets or lacing or other known means, to its adjacent panel or cap.

The corrugations of each crest 24 including a top central lozenge or boat shaped corrugation 34, and a pair of curved side corrugations 32 and 34 on each of the chest side and back side of the crest 24 that are concave toward the lozenge or boat shaped corrugation 34. The top central boat-shaped corrugation 34 of each crest 34 advantageously has a flat base at the neck opening and a gently pointed outer end.

The corrugation of each of the panels is polygonal in shape with the chest panels 20 each having a middle arrowhead shaped corrugation 40 with a downwardly pointed lower end and a V-shaped upper end, and a further triangular corrugation 42 below each corrugation 40. Each chest panel 20 also has an upper generally triangular corrugation 44 over each arrowhead shaped corrugation, with a pointed corner extending toward the outer end 26 of its respective crest 24 for filling in this space for additional lateral rigidity to augment the lateral strength of the crest corrugations 32, 34 and 36. Each back panel 22 has a large upper generally polygonal corrugation 46 with a small lower triangular corrugation 48 below having a curved outer side and a pointed inwardly directed corner. Although generally polygonal, each large upper corrugation 46 has upper sides that curve together and toward the outer end of the crest for filling in this outwardly and upwardly extending area of the back panel. This provides additional rigidity in this area as well as additional lateral strength to again augment the lateral strength of the crest corrugations at the back of the arch.

While a specific embodiment of the invention has been shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the principles of the invention, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.