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Duke Trio Named Finalists for NFL Honor
January 29, 2020
Former Duke football lettermen Clark Bulleit, Kevin Gehsmann, and Tim Skapek have been selected one of four finalists for the NFL 1st and Future innovations competition
DURHAM, N.C. – Former Duke football lettermen Clark Bulleit, Kevin Gehsmann, and Tim Skapek have been selected one of four finalists for the NFL 1st and Future innovations competition.
The trio founded the company Protect3d, which revolutionizes athletic protection using 3D technology. The original concept started out as an engineering project for their then teammate and now New York Giants starting quarterback Daniel Jones when he went down with a fractured left clavicle. They used a 3D scan of Jones to obtain a digital model and created nine prototypes of the pad, optimizing his range of motion with the Duke athletic medicine staff. After making slight modifications, the final 3D pad was printed in structurally sound material.
Jones was back on the field just three weeks after his injury. He wore the custom pad for the remainder of the season, leading the Blue Devils to an 8-5 record and Independence Bowl victory over Temple.
Since then, Protect3d has made over 100 custom devices for student-athletes at seven schools.
Bulleit, Gehsmann, and Skapek submitted their product to the fifth annual 1st and Future competition which is the NFL's annual Super Bowl competition designed to spur novel advancements in athlete safety and performance. The threesome will next present their innovation on stage at the Miami Beach Convention Center on January 31st with the grand prize winner being awarded $50,000 and two tickets to Super Bowl LIV. The second-place winner will receive $25,000 and two tickets to the Super Bowl.
During the program, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Michelle Lee, VP of the Amazon ML Solutions Lab, and former NFL running back Curtis Martin will participate in a panel discussion on player health and safety innovation. The panel will be moderated by Dan Hellie of NFL Network, who will also emcee the competition.
NFL Network will livestream the full competition beginning at 10:30 a.m. The event will be available at https://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-1st-and-future-2020-in-miami.
For more information on 1st and Future, visit https://www.nfl.com/causes/1st-and-future/.
Innovations to Advance Athlete Health and Safety Competition Finalists
Nextiles, Brooklyn, New York
Nextiles builds fabric-based sensors that when sewn into the interior padding of helmets can locate, triangulate and measure forces impacted on a player's head in order to quantify the factors that contribute to concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
Physmodo, Dallas, Texas
Using its proprietary human tracking skeleton developed specifically for biomechanics, Physmodo assesses movement patterns through an objective, automated and 30 second screen.
Plantiga, Vancouver, British Columbia
Plantiga combines sensor insoles and artificial intelligence that analyze how people move to improve health, injury rehabilitation and performance.
Protect3d, Durham, North Carolina
Protect3d leverages 3D scanning and printing technologies to give medical professionals the ability to create anatomically-precise protective devices, each optimized for an individual athlete's comfort, mobility and protection.