NFL, Texas Medical Center Kick Off Innovation Contest

, January 3, 2017

Start-ups vie for $50,000 and membership in TMC's program to improve sports technology and athlete safety.

Texas Medical Center and the National Football League have launched "1st & Future"—a start-up competition focusing on innovations that advance sports technology and athlete safety, according to a media release.

The event will be held at the TMC Innovation Institute in Houston on February 4, the day before the Super Bowl. The medical center will livestream the event on its website.

Start-ups are invited to submit entries in the following categories:

  • Communicating with the Athlete: New technologies that will enable secure, safe means of communication between a coach on the sideline or in the coaches' booth and a designated player on the field.
  • Training the Athlete: Educational and training innovations designed to reduce injury during practice or competition. Innovations may include training techniques or equipment.
  • Protecting the Athlete: Solutions and materials that advance player health and safety while allowing for high-level performance. Innovations may include materials that improve breathability and heat dissipation or provide better protection for players by absorbing or mitigating force. These materials may be incorporated into protective equipment, padding, uniforms, footwear, or to other uses.

TMC and the NFL will choose up to nine companies to compete at the event at the Texas Medical Center Accelerator tech start-up program site in Houston, where a panel of medical professionals, NFL players, and entrepreneurs will select a winner in each category.


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The winners will receive $50,000 from the NFL to further develop their innovation, acceptance into the TMC Accelerator program, and two tickets to Super Bowl LI.

"TMC provides a one-of-a-kind environment where the best and brightest minds in health and technology and private companies can collaborate to drive breakthrough ideas to market and transform the health of humanity," said Robert Robbins, MD, president and CEO of TMC.

"We are partnering [with the NFL] to give sports technology and safety companies this career-changing opportunity to help advance sports and shape the future of athlete health and safety."

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