US 3500472 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Mardi 17, 1970 .1. D. cAsTELLANx FOOTBALL AND BASEBALL EQUIPMENT Filed May 15, i968 2 Sheets-Sheet l VII-ig?" l J. D.- CASTELLANI 3,500,472: FooTBALLAND BASEBALL EQulPMENT 2 SheetsSheet 2 Filed )lay 13, 1968 INVENTOR, ,(asmL/. (//sfLLA/v/ Arm/Mfrs United States Patent() U.S. Cl. 2 2 2 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Football and baseball equipment provided with protection means to protect players against injuries when they are struck blows by other players or objects; the protective means comprises one or more cushioning units applied to garments worn by the players at the areas of the body to be protected; each cushioning unit comprises a relatively rigid member covered With a spongy material 'shaped to conform to the shape of the body part to be protected; the covered rigid member is enclosed within an inflatable chamber, having walls that are formed of a pliable nonporous material, that has been pressurized by the introduction of a gaseous medium.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION garments in use at the present time do not adequately protect the wearer. Even if they are provided with plates of metal or hard plastic'intended to protectthe wearer, such parts themselves often cause serious injuries to the wearer, his opponent or both the `wearer and his opponent. It is, accordingly, a primary object of the present invention to provide the garments worn by athletes with a protective structure which not only protects Athe wearer against injury but, at the same time, presents no additional hazards for-an opponent with whom the wearer may come into Contact.
It is a general object of the invention to provide "a garment with a flexible pocket coextens'ive with the region of the body of the wearer to be lpr'otected'and to insert into such pocket' a unit that comprises "a rigid plate member shaped to lconform to the shape of the part of the body to be protected which, in turn',- is surrounded by cushioning material.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a garment having such a flexible pocket with a cushioning unit that comprises an inatable enclosure con' taining therein a rigid plate member shaped to corre?A A spond to the shape of the part of the body that is to be protected and to surround said rigid plate member with a foam-like material that either partially or pletely lls the inatable enclosure.
A still further object of the invention is to provide a garment that covers the trunk of the body Vand takes the form of a safety vest or ribprotector designed for the protection of the body organs and nerve centers,
particularly the base of the skull, the base ofthe spinal" cord and the area adjacent the kidneys by the provision of pockets to such garments overlying such body organsl and nerve centers into which cushioning units are in7 serted.
3,500,472 Patented Mar. 17, 1970 "ice An additional object of the invention is to provide football shoulder pads that include a plurality of flexible pockets into each of which a cushioning unit, comprising an inflatable enclosure containing therein a rigid plate member shaped to conform to the shape of the portion of the shoulder below it, which plate is enclosed in a foam-like spongy material, is inserted.
A further additional object of the invention is to provide football. safety pants having portions arranged to protect the area between the lower waist line and the region above the groin as Well as with portions arranged to protect the thigh and knee zones and in which the protecting portions include flexible pockets into which cushioning units are inserted.
A still further additional object of the invention is to provide a safety helmet including a neck protecting portion provided with flexible pockets into which are inserted cushioning units.
Another object of the invention is to provide a safety helmet that includes suspension straps to which a skull protection portion is attached which portion includes a flexible pocket into which is inserted a cushioning unit. j' Still another object of the invention is to provide a garment for protecting a body portion of an athlete according to the teachings of the present invention which is simple in construction, durable and formed of material of relatively low cost.
The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth willv become apparent after reading the following description thereof.
Such description refers to the annexed drawings presenting preferred and illustrative embodiments of the invention.
IN THE DRAWINGS FIGURE l is a front view of a football safety vest' constructed in accordance with the present invention.
FIGURE 2 is a rear view of the football safety vest shown inv FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a sectional view taken through a cushioning unit forming a part of the present invention. FIGURE 4 is a front view of a rib protector for baseball players to which cushioning units have been added. l v FIGURE 5 is a frontl view of a protective unit .to be used in cooperation with footballA shoulder pads. EIGURE is a front view of the protective unitof FIGURE 5 shown in association with shoulder pads. j
FIGURE 7 is a front view offootball pants to which cushioning means have been added.
lFIGURE 8 is a rear view of the *and* '2 constitutes a football safety vest indicated gener-V ally by the reference character V, ,form'edof any suitable material, commonly ,Y employed in ,the manufacture of football garments, and may be, for example, leather,
canvas, rayon or silk. Vest V has a back Yportior1'10 and front panels 12, 14, th'e edges of which are brought together .by @lacing member, such. as a. Acord .or string, 16. The vest V also includes aportion 18which extends upwardly from b ack portion'10 and is arranged to overlie the back of the neck of thewearer. A similar portion 20 extends downwardly from the back portion 10 football pants of .y
baseball helmet provided andis arranged to overliethe kidney area and the areas adjacent 'the kidney rea containing vital body organs of the wearer.
,The back portion of the vest V includes aY support means for a plurality of cushioning units 34. The support means may be formed by a portion of the material which forms the vest V in conjunction with a separate sheet of flexible material which is secured to the back portion 10 by stitching it or otherwise securing it to the back portion 10. It could also be formed by material other than that which is part of the vest. For the purpose of simplicity of'description, no matter which of the above arrangements is employed to form a support means to secure the cushioning units to the garment, the arrangement will, hereinafter, be referred to as pocket means 2,2.
Similarly, each of the front panels 12 and 14 is, re"
spectively, provided with an arrangement similar to ipocket means 22 and will be referred to as exible pocket means 24, 26. In a like manner, the portions of the vest 28 between thefront portion 12 and the back portion 10, as Well as the portion of the vest 30 between front portion 14 and back portion 10, may include Pocket means.A 'Ihe pocket means referred to above may be formed as a single, relatively large, pocket or, when desired, by means of stitching, gluing or otherwise, as a plurality of smaller separated pockets. Moreover, the material from which the pocket means is formed may be porous or :on-porous, but it is often especially desirable to form hose portions of the pockets closest to the body of nonporous material. Supported by, and within each of the pockets, there is provided an expandible cushioning unit 34 which, when expanded, substantially fills the pocket. Such a cushion- 'mg unit is illustrated in greater detail in FIGURE 3 of the drawings.
The cushioning means 34 may be designed to be of such size that Iwhen inserted into a pocket means and inflated, relative movement between the cushioning means and :he pocket means will be reduced to a minimum. On he other hand, if the cushioning means is substanitally :maller than the pocket means into which it is to be eceived, the cushioning means may be secured within he pocket means, for example, by stitching or gluing it :o the wall of the pocket means. It could also be reained in the pocket means by a device which closes the rocket means opening, such as a zipper, not illustrated. "'FIGURE 3 shows in cross section, a portion"oflagarnent 36 thatis 4prc'Jvidedwith:pocket means 3.8` of exble -material, 'adapted to cove, in overlying relation, an treawof anfathletes b`ody "v`vhich it is' desired :toprc'itectA lgainst injury.' The cushioning unit '34, "which is received' n the pocket, means 3,8, includesfa plate' member i'4'0 'ormedlfrom any well'known hard matrialsuchas llastichhard rubberor fiberglass that is shapedto com` orm to' the'vshape of th'e area of the athlefesbody that t;` is intended to protect. The rplate member 40 is covered iy' a soft 'spongy or 'similar "material`42 and fthel plate nember so covered is enclosed in'an inflatable"ail-,"or`
ther uid`chamber 44, having `an i outer Wall 45 of ubber, pliable plastic or` other suitable similar nonporous naterial. The` Wall 45 of the inflatable yfluid chamber ..44 snrswided with" afuid in'le'tgv'alve 46 and .when .the lhamber 44, is Pres'S11r,zed,`Y its' walls ,4.5'as.we.1l*as the luid l 'underv pressure' and the, soft spongyl' material conrld. therein will resist' arid tdSe .the .eiects .f iipaits s which thewesrervrfithe 'garment mai/be subjected is@ he're'gion of'such impact. Y
In are; embodiment shown in FIGURE '1, the v esty is lrovided With`b1`1t`one -valve 4 6 fior the introductionoff luid under plf'essllre yinto"alltheiiuigl chambers., associated Vith@ the badi/ofthe `vei stg10, .thefrpnt'panelsf 12 and 1"!y nd inesperti-msgs and 30, between the haar. 10 er1-the sst Yami. thffvntfvgslsl 12S; 14., With SuQh alarrangev ment ofY cushioning units locatedv atmthe backvvlQLfront panels 12,14 and vest p'o'tions 28, 30, and uid chambers 44 thereof` are interconnected by means of restricted openings (not shown). It should be apparent, however,
that due to such restricted inter'communication between the. iluid'chambers, the sudden loss of pressurizing fluid from a particular'uid chamber, or group of uid chambers, Aas anpresult of a hard blow being applied to a particular fluid chamberor group of fluid chambers, is preeluded. V- i Y Y The portion 18 of the vest V, which extends upwardly from the back portion 10, overlies'the back of the neck of the Wearerof the vest yV and provides a conventional protectivecover for the region of the wearer behind the base of his skull. Thisoverlying portion, may, if desired, have secured thereto` a pocket (not illustrated in the drawings); A cushioning unit 4.8, j having a construction Vsimilar to cushioning unit 34, illustrated inFIGURE 3, and differing therefrom only in shape, would be secured to overlying; portion 18 or contained in a pocket locatedin said portiony 18's() that the wearer (of the vest V is further protected by a `cushioning `unit 34l against injury to his neckA by severe blows to which ,he maybe subjected.
The portion20 of the vestrV,` which extends down-` wardly from 'the back portion 1Y0 of the vest V and over-y liesthe area ofthe wearer in thevicinity of his kidneys and other adjacent vitalorgans may also, if desired, be provided with a flexible pocketA (not illustratedv in the v l drawings). A cushioning unit 50, having a construction similar to the cushioning unit` 34, illustrated in FIGURE 3, andtdiffering therefrom-only in shape, would be provided in such flexible pocket. Thus, the kidneys and ad` `FIGURE 4 of the drawingsrillustrates the invent-ivrer concept, previously described in its application to a football safety vest V, applied to a rib protector R for use by. 45 baseball players when they are at bat.
any wellv known covering material similar tothat vusually employed in the fabrication of chest protectors for baseball lcatchers and umpiresfThe protector Rwhasa straight linevlower edge 5,8, upper.edge60 ,and side edges 6264.l
Upper edge 60 has spaced straight line end portions 66,.
6 8 interconnected by a concave interconnecting4 portion 70; Pocket means (not illustratedlin the drawings) of any well known durable flexible materialmay, iffdesired,A be secured to theouter surface of therib protector R.; Suchrypocket` means wouldbe provided vwith cushioningunits;72 each. of which-is similar toy the cushioning unit 34 illustrated in FIGURE v3. .'I-'hey differ from said cushioning unitr 34 solely infsize and shape in order that of the flexible pocketl means into which they may be in-V serted. Since the .walls 45 of thecushioning units 72 each i have a common wall or contacting `adjacent walls, they may be interconnected byyanrestrictedorice arrangement' (not shown),` similar to that providedfor the introduction of a gaseous Huid, suchas air, through a gas inlet valve 7.4,in t o the gas. chambers 44 of the cushioning units 34 thed'rawirngs. Therib protector R is provided with :the usual Vstrap means. 76, 7 6 and 78, 78 which enable it to be readily K Played Y InAuse .',theprotectnris worny `-by-a batter-'with the con-l Jcave portion 70,ther eof placed under an armpit and the t ends of the respective straps 76, 76 and 78, 78 secured blow in thisregion of his bodyby, for example, anotherl Rib protector R has a covering means 56 formed of4 they may conlormvin4 size and shape to the size and shape,
of 4the footballvestV, illustrated in FIGURES 1 andy 2 of;
mountedv on, or removed from, the body oflthe together. It lcanbe readily seen that, due to the shape of the upper' edge 60 ofY the protectorR, and particularly the dispositionof vthe concave portion 70, the protectorR may be worn by either right hand or left hand batters simply by placing the concave portion n70 under one or the other of the batters armpits.Y
Y Some of the advantages of providinga rib protector, such as R, for a baseball player while he is at bat, are believed to be apparent. For example, the likelihood of his being injured by a hard pitched ball delivered by a pitcher is reduced to a minimum. Moreover, since the batter is aware of the fact that 'he is protected against injury, any uneasiness that he might otherwise experience Vis eliminated'. Accordingly, because he' is able to concentratesto a greater vdegree on hitting the ball, an improvement in his battering average generally results. l' f. In FIGURES 5 and 6,v the inventive concept is illustrated as ap'plied'to football shoulder pads S. The vshoulder pads S include a pair `of shoulder protectors `80, 80 to the ends of which leather wing members 82 (only one of which has been illustrated) Vare attached by straps such as strap 83. A protective unit 84 yis secured, for example, by stitching (not shOWD) Within the, shoulder protectors 80, 80. The protective unit 84'is so designed that when it is placed on the shoulders of a football player, its cushioning units extend downwardly to a region where they closely approach the cushion units 34 provided in the vest V, illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2 of the drawings. Protective unit 84 is open at its front and its ends 86, 86 are drawn together by lacing 88. Its outer contour closely conforms to the internal contour of the shoulder protectors 80.
Pocket means (not illustrated in the drawings) may be provided for receiving cushioning units 90 and such cushioning units are constructed, except for their specific shape, in the same manner as cushioning units 34 illustrated in FIGURE 3 of the drawings. As pointed out in connection with football safety vest V and rib protector R, the cushioning units 90 absorb as well as distribute impacts applied to the shoulder pads S, and because of this ability to absorb as well as distribute the effects of such impacts, numerous injuries, which might otherwise occur to players wearing conventional shoulder pads, are eliminated.
In FIGURES 7 and 8, the inventive concept is illustrated as applied to football safety pants P. Football pants P are provided with safety protective means located, for example, so as to protect (1) the region 92 overlying each knee and thigh; (2) the region 94 overlying the groin; (3) the region 96 overlying the kidney; and (4) the region 98 overlying the buttock.
The football pants are made from a strong, lightweight material such as nylon, rayon or a mixture of silk with cotton and provided in the regions set forth above with inatable protection means to be described. The pants are made of such a size that when the inflatable protection means are deflated they are easily put on and taken off. However, when the inatable protection means are inflated, they become body tight. This enables the football player not only to look very slick but makes his pants difcult to grab. Moreover, sinre the pants are provided with chambers containing air, the areas overlying such chambers cannot become water-soaked.
The inatable protection means provided for the protection of the knees and thighs, each, comprises, preferably, a pocket of exible material (not illustrated in the drawings) into which are inserted cushioning units 100, 102. The cushioning units 100, 102 each comprise a pair of spaced relatively rigid plate members 104, 106, of Iany well known hard material such as plastic, hard rubber or fiberglass, that is surrounded by a layer of sponge or other soft pliable material, and shaped to conform to the portion of the body at the thigh and a similar plate 108 of hard material shaped to conform to the shape of the knee and surrounded by a layer of sponge or similar .soft pliable material. The hard plate members 104, v106 and 108 that are surrounded by the soft pliable material are enclosed in an inflatable air or other uid chamber 110v having anouterwall 112 provided witha fluid inlet valve 114. v v
The inflatable protection means provided for the .region 94 overlying the groin comprises cushioning'units 116, 118 located on opposite sides of the lacing 120. Similarly, the inatable protection means, provided for the region overlying the kidneys, comprisescushioning units 122, 124. The gas chambers of cushioning units 12.2,- 124 are interconnected by a passage means 126 while the gas chambers of the cushioning units 118 and 122 lare.inter connected by passage. means 128, andushioning units 116 and 124 are'interconnected by passagemeans 130. A fluid inlet valve 132 is provided in the wall of cushioning means 124 forthe introduction of air-or other gaseous fluid into the gas chambers of cushioningmeans 116, 118, 122,124. M vf v 4.The football pants are also provided with ,a cushioning unit 134` for the protection of the 4players buttock. This unit comprises a pair of spaced relatively rigid plate members 136, 138 of any Well known hard material such as plastic, hard rubber or fiberglass, that is surrounded by a layer of sponge or other soft pliable material, and shaped to conform to the shape of the portion of the players buttock that it overlies. The hard plate members A136, 138 that are surrounded by the soft pliable material are enclosed within an inflatable air or other gaseous fluid containing chamber 140 having an outer wall 142 provided with a uid inlet valve 144. The outer wall of the fluid containing chamber 140 is provided with a uid inlet valve 144. The pants may also be provided with air vents, not illustrated, if desired, located on the inner thigh of the leg.
FIGURE 9 of the drawings illustrates the inventive concept applied to a football safety helmet H. The safety helmet H includes protecting portions for the skull, ears and back of the neck. Mounted within the skull protecting portion of the safety helmet H is a cushioning construction 146. The cushioning construction 146 comprises a cushioning unit 148, similar, except for its specific shape, to the cushioning unit 34 illustrated in FIGURE 3. This cushioning unit 148 is attached to one end of a plurality of straps 150. The other end of the straps 150 are attached by any conventional means to an annular band 152 engaged within the inner periphery of the skull protecting portion of the helmet H.
The back of the neck protecting portion 154 of the football safety helmet H is provided with a cushioning unit 156 which is similar, except for its specific shape, to the cushioning unit 34 illustrated in FIGURE 3. Added protection is, however, provided for the back of the neck of a football player by extending the neck protecting portion 154 downwardly suiciently so that it is met by the top portion of the protective vest V illustrated in FIG- URES 1 and 2. In addition to providing a cushioning function to the player, the fluid contained under pressure within the cushioning unit of the safety helmet H cuts down the noise caused by vibrations and enables the player to hear the plays called clearly.
FIGURE 10 of the drawings illustrates the inventive concept applied to a baseball helmet 'B. Baseball helmet B has a protecting portion 158 extending downwardly from the body of the helmet and arranged to overlie the back of the neck of the player. Secured to downwardly protecting portion 158 of the helmet B is a group of cushioning units 160, similar, except for shape, to the cushioning unit 34 illustrated in FIGURE 3. It is believed to be apparent that that uid under pressure contained in the cushioning units 160 renders harmless impacts caused by hard pitched balls striking the downwardly protecting portion 158 at the back of the neck of -a batter.
Although the invention has been described as applied to specific athletic equipment, it is to be understood that t'is not intended` to be so limitedbut may be applied o other athletic'equiprnent where a cushioning elec'l't is lesirableornecessary. Y j
"After: reading the foregoing detailed description, it will uccessively achievedl Accordingly,
What is claimed is: 'f
L'Agarmen't such as a vest for protecting an athlete .'gainst injury comprising 'a back covering portion; a pair nf front coveringportions 'each interconnected with said ackcovering'fportion by a side `covering portion; said rontcovering' portions being joined together by a Iacing neans; a neck covering portion extending upwardly from aid bck covering v'portion and a kidneycovering portion re apparent that the objects set forth initially haveV been i Xtendingdownwardly from saidback 'covering portiom' idb'ack coveringportion;4 'said front covering portions, nd saidfsidec'zover'ingv portions' each having means coopratingtherewith -to form a-"pluralityA of longitudinally lxtending pocket means at each said back covering'porion', said front covering portions andfsaid sidecoveringr of the body portion covered by said covering -portions and uid passage means interconnecting all of the inflatable means enclosed by 'said plurality of-longitudinally extending `pocket means'cover'ing' said back portion, said front-portions and said side portions. A
2. A garment as defined claim 1`whereinsaid intercon'necting uid passage means includes meansl restricting the fluid ow between interconnected inatable means; v
Referencescited v UNITED' STATES PATENTS f '5305434` 7*/1i94`0' GreatBrita'in.' t JAMES R. BOLER, Primary Examiner