As Popular Science reports in 'The Cup Stops Here,' 'the most important piece of male athletic gear, the protective cup, hasn't changed much over the years.' After looking at a bunch of protective cups available from $8 to $25, the reporter thinks he has found the winner. The NuttyBuddy™ has been invented by Mark Littell, a former MLB pitcher. It is made of Lexan, a polycarbonate resin, and you can buy it for $19.95. And it is available in 4 sizes, 'Mongo' (XL), 'The Hog' (L), 'The Boss' (Juniors/small) and 'The Hammer' (youth). But read more...
And you can see above some details about the largest cup, the Mongo model. (Credit: NuttyBuddy, Inc.) Here is a link to a larger version if you need it.
Here are some short excerpts from the Popular Science article. "Littell is so confident in his product that he’s taken 90 mph fastballs to his junk on national TV in an unparalleled, if not slightly disturbing, customer testimonial. The NuttyBuddy (or Nutty for short) has a more anatomical shape that distributes the force of an impact to the pelvic area and provides a more contoured space 'for testicle A and testicle B,' according to Littell. [...] Littell says the roomier shape of the Nutty is a key to both comfort and protection, citing more confining models' lack of space. ('That’s why [ball players] are constantly grabbing them”). More room results in a more natural fit, "the way that the Man upstairs made them,' says Littell."
You'll find more information about Mark Littell on this Wikipedia page. And why did he develop the NuttyBuddy? As his home page says, the intent was to protect the boys. "The NuttyBuddy athletic cup is the most innovative and revolutionary protective cup on the market. The award-winning, patented athletic supporter provides unprecedented levels of comfort and protection because it is anatomically shaped to the male body. Our safety gear protects the boys while playing baseball, softball, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, football, martial arts, paintball or other contact sports."
As the site says, the NuttyBuddy invention has been patented -- on February 28, 2006. Thanks to our friends at FreePatentsOnline, here is a link to the full text of U.S. patent 7,004,921, "Male genital protection device." Here is what is called the "Field of Invention" in patents jargon. "The present invention generally relates to an apparatus for protecting the male genitalia while providing a more comfortable and secure fitting. In particular, the genital protection device comprises conformed areas for securing the testicles and/or scrotum, the penis, and/or a flange positioned about the male crotch for stabilizing the device to prevent movement."
Here is some backgound. "Protective cups have been used for years by a variety of athletes, workers security personnel and the like. Traditionally, baseball players, hockey players, football players, and rugby players used protective cups to protect their male genitals from injury resulting from sporting contact or external impact. Recently, protective cups have become important in other sports such as mountain biking, motocross, snow skiing, waterskiing and the like. In describing traditional protective cups, it is important to understand the general physiology of the male anatomy as relating to a groin impact."
Here is another excerpt of the patent. "Because the testicles hang in a sac (i.e., scrotum) outside the body, they are not protected by bones and muscles like the rest of the reproductive system. The location of the testicles makes it easier for them to be injured or hit, a painful sensation most males have experienced. Generally, because the testicles are loosely attached to the body and are made of a spongy material, they are able to absorb the shock of impact without permanent damage. It is common, nonetheless, for males to experience testicular trauma, which is when the testicles are struck, hit, kicked, or crushed. Most testicular injuries of this sort occur during sports and can be very painful."
Finally, don't miss the videos of Mark Littell available at the bottom of the Popular Science article and on this page on the NuttyBuddy website. Oooch!
[Disclaimer: Please note that I have no financial ties with Mark Littell and his NuttyBuddy product.]
Sources: Brett Zarda, Popular Science, April 22, 2008; and various websites
You'll find related stories by following the links below.