Urgent need for sole innovation to reduce ankle, knee and foot injury

We will start with a review of active footwear market, economic, and psychological needs with current solutions.  We will end with a look at an innovation created to dramatically meet the growing ankle, knee and foot injury reduction needs.

The market need 

U.S. Athletic Footwear Industry Sales Grew 2 Percent to $19.6 Billion in 2017, NPD Group Reports[i]

Increased consumer involvement in sports and fitness activities drives demand for athletic footwear.[ii] The sports footwear market expected to grow due to three predominant trends:

  1. Increasing use of eco-friendly products
  2. Innovations in sole technology
  3. Growing preferences for premium and customized products[iii]

The market eclipsed in 2017 at a 17B growth of 3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) after a history of 4% annual growth. See Annual Market Size Forecast by Geographical Region (2016-2024)[iv]

The economic need 

The need for a sole that protects the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and knee is catastrophic as ankle and foot injuries result in lost time for 60-70% of active duty soldiers in the Army,[v] in addition to ACL injury costing the US  an estimated $2 billion / year between high school, university, hobby and pro athletes. [vi]

Ankle injuries are the most common sports injury. There are approximately 20 million ankle injuries in sports per year, which represents approximately 30% of sports injuries, just in the United States. [vii]

The psychological need 

Pro athletes and active military soldiers careers are curtailed if not ended as previously stated, causing psychological trauma in addition economic disruption. ACL injuries usually result in surgery to the tune of about $50,000 which can feel like a gouge, and pain killers risking opiod addiction, which is scary, stressful and a hardship to manage.[viii]

Current ineffective solution

A mix of using ankle wrap or high cut shoes or boots, and / or wrap or padding around the knees, along with training, stretching and careful movement have been the current and past solution for decades.

The problem has been an increase in knee injuries as shoes and boots made for active wear, have become more protective of the ankle, as can be seen in the graph below from Dr. Brown’s WPI Investor Showcase Presentation earlier this year [ix].

Increasing ankle protection has resulted in active footwear has resulted in increased knee injuries.

Cutting edge solution:

Sports Engineering, Inc.’s ankle, knee and foot injury-reducing sole innovation developed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Here is a video of the prototype:

SEI holds four patented footwear technologies including sole and binding innovations for athletic and casual shoes, boots, skates, skis and more, and has filed other applications.

The four patents cover:

  1. Dual-sole with self-recovering tuned springs emergency system for sudden impacts technology
  2. Skate boot force absorbing appliance
  3. Rapid response ski binding technology
  4. Ski binding plate

The self-recovering footwear sole technology is platform technology because it works for a vast range of segments.  The basic concept of SEI’s platform technology is that horizontal load transmission from the playing surface to the foot is controlled by a specially engineered sole.

The design includes two soles stacked on top of each other to result in a split sole with a low-friction, spring-loaded interface.

For more information

To learn more about SEI’s needed and timely sole innovation, including investment opportunities, please check  For serious prospective investor inquiries, please contact Todd Cowle.








[vi]– Seaport Investor Showcase Presentation


[viii]– Seaport Investor Showcase Presentation

[ix]– Seaport Investor Showcase Presentation


Case for need for simultaneous ankle and knee protection in active footwear

Case for need for simultaneous ankle and knee protection in active footwear

Image from Ski boot and knee injury image from Sports Engineering, Inc’s WPI Investor Showcase PowerPoint by Christopher Brown, Ph.D., Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The picture above illustrates the relationship between ankle protection and jeopardizing the knee, one of increase. As ankle protection rises, risk to the knee rises, too.  Extra padding around the ankle restricts and limits movement of the knee.

We can see increased ankle protection in sports footwear, active leisure-wear shoes or “athleisure”, including boots of all kinds. Correspondingly, knee injuries continue to increase.

Footwear for Women

Footwear for the Military

Footwear and Trend of Increase in ACL Injuries

Sports Engineering, Inc.’s development team of mechanical engineering students led by Ph.D. professor Christopher Brown, former ski racer and coach, and athletic Hall of Famer from the University of Vermont, have patented a solution.

Current “Solution”

Training, stretching, selective protection of either the knee or the ankle, and good treatment of injuries so as to be best able to continue to play sports, partake in the Military, and to participate in other activities. The current solution has seen increases in knee injuries with increased protection for the ankle being built-in to more and more to footwear.

Virtually all facets of activity have seen an increase in knee injury including the painful, expensive to repair ($50,000 +), ACL injuries.

Sports Engineering, Inc.’s Solution

Video of innovative sole technology

Sports Engineering, Inc.’s (SEI) sole technology provides protection for both the ankle and the knee at the same time, via the dual sole with spring mechanism construction.

For more information on SEI’s innovative sole technology and opportunities to become involved click here.


Dr. Chris Brown, WPI, Sports Engineering Inc., Presentation, WPI Investor Showcase




Is there a relationship between concussions and ankle and knee injuries?

American football player running with the ball isolated on big modern stadium field with lights and flares

Is there a relationship between concussions and ankle and knee injuries?

What constitutes a concussion

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):  A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Symptoms of concussion

  • somatic symptoms
    • headache
      • most common symptom
      • present in 70% of concussed athletes
      • types
        • myofascial tension headache — pain localized to posterior neck at base of skull
        • post-traumatic headache — pressure localized to forehead and/or top of head
    • dizziness
    • balance problems
    • nausea and/or vomiting
    • vision changes
    • sensitivity to light (photophobia) or sound (phonophobia)
  • cognitive symptoms
    • feeling “in a fog” or slowed down
    • difficulty concentrating
    • forgetful
  • emotional symptoms
    • lability
    • irritability
    • sadness
  • sleep disturbance
    • change in amount of sleep (more or less)
    • difficulty falling asleep, insomnia
    • drowsiness

Signs of concussion

  • many sports have established “mandatory signs of concussion”
    • presence of these visible signs dictates further evaluation and often removal from play
    • note, the specific signs and subsequent recommended action differs between sports
  • loss of consciousness
    • occurs in only ~10% of cases
  • lying motionless > 5 seconds
  • slow to get up
  • confusion or disorientation
  • clutching the head
  • amnesia
  • vacant look
  • motor incoordination
  • ataxia

The relationship between concussions and ankle and knee injuries

Sports injury trends show a clear relationship between concussions and ankle and knee injuries. Concussions lead to greater risk of ankle and knee injuries. Research has shown that the likelihood of a lower body injury, especially lateral ankle sprain, knee injuries and muscle strains increases by more than two times.

Frequency of concussions in sports

Estimates of numbers of sports related concussions range from 1.6-3.8 million per year and or  5-9% of sports injuries in the US. It is also noted that as many as 50% of concussions are not reported. It has been observed that 69% of athletes play with concussion symptoms.

How concussions are prevented

    • Creating a safe playing culture – Instilling a culture based on values that include aspects such as teamwork, hard work and respectfulness helps to prevent concussions.
    • Enforcing the rules – Decreasing the chances of angry outbursts that could lead to attacks under the guise of sports incidents by enforcing the rules consistently is another way concussions are prevented.
    • Education on symptoms of concussions – With knowledge of the symptoms of concussion, players, coaches and families can more readily identify or seek evaluation and diagnosis when a concussion is suspected, and the risk of future concussions and other injury many be prevented. Playing with a prior concussion increases the risk of sustaining another concussion by 2 – 8 times.
    • Evaluation and treatment as necessary 
    • Protective equipment – Head gear is written about with great frequency in sports articles as a key way to prevent concussion.

An innovative, complementary prevention solution

The risk of concussion rises with symptoms of concussions. Helmets and other preventative measures are limited at best in their abilities to prevent concussion.  Innovative sole technology helps athletes control their motion and prevent the increased risk ankle, knee and foot injuries that arises in the aftermath of concussions and concussion symptoms.

Sports Engineering, Inc.’s (SEI) sole innovation, developed by the Worcester Polytechnic, Inst. mechanical engineering student team led by their professor, Dr. Christopher Brown, protects athletes from ankle, knee and foot injury without diminishing performance. A key feature of the sole is a patented split-sole that operates like an emergency feature to help avoid injury.

See video of Sports Engineering, Inc.’s sole innovation

Click here to see a brief video of the prototype of Sports Engineering, Inc.’s sole innovation that helps reduce the risk for ankle, knee and foot injury. SEI’s sole technology makes the game, the culture and the player safer, and can possibly contribute to preventing concussion via increasing overall player experience safety.

Sources: injury



Do ski boots jeopardize the knees?


Modern professional ski boots

Do ski boots jeopardize the knees? 

In a word, yes. The more support around the ankle, which is what ski boots have provided more of over the past nearly 40 years, the more restriction on movement put on the knee, and thereby the risk of injury.

Ski boot and knee injury image from Sports Engineering, Inc’s WPI Investor Showcase PowerPoint

Increase in knee injuries with increase in ankle protection

Knee injuries have increased 209% as ski boots have evolved to protect the ankle.  Risk of injury to the knee has been an unintended consequence of the increased ankle protection.

Costs to repair knee injuries

Athletic shoes have also increased protection to the ankle and ankle and knee injuries have continued to increase. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears which typically cost about $50,000 to surgically repair, are needed in most cases. Surgeries to repair ACL injuries have become more common with the increase in ankle protection in shoes and boots.

Solution in training

Exercises, training and conditioning before activities has been long hailed as the main solution to avoiding knee injuries, yet the increases continue.

Solution in innovation

Sports Engineering, Inc.’s development team of mechanical engineering students led by Ph.D. Chris Brown of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, have created patented split sole technology that releases to adjust 20 mm in any and all directions that are appropriate, upon imminent ankle or knee injury. The split sole then automatically self-resets typically after the risk of injury subsides.

Click here to see the prototype of SEI’s sole innovation.


Dr. Chris Brown, WPI, Sports Engineering Inc., Presentation, WPI Investor Showcase






The need for a solution to ankle and foot injuries in the Military

The need for a solution to ankle and foot injuries in the Military

Man carrying an injured solider on shoulder with teammates in the background

Frequency of ankle and foot injuries in the Army

Studies have found that 60-70% of active duty Army soldiers suffer ankle and foot injuries. These ankle and foot injuries are the cause of lost time from training and combat operations.

Problems caused in addition to the injury

The future of an active duty Army soldier’s career can be impacted by an ankle and /or foot injury, especially when the injury prevents the soldier from conducting activities within his or her military occupational specialty or participating in physical fitness exercises.

Other impacts of ankle and / or foot injury to an active duty Army soldier include putting their unit at risk and leaving their family with a potential crisis. There is usually an increase in the need for help for their unit with extra personnel on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Overall the Military budget is impacted for the lost time, medical expenses, and all other ancillary expenses.

Benefits of a solution to ankle and foot injuries to active duty Army soldiers

A solution to the ankle and foot injuries can help:

  1. The safety of the individual active duty Army soldier
  2. The safety of the active duty Army soldier’s unit
  3. The career of the individual active duty Army soldier
  4. The security of the family of the active duty Army soldier
  5. The budget of the Army
  6. The budget of the Military
  7. The safety of the Army
  8. The safety of the Military
  9. The safety of the county
  10. The safety of the other locations and people we protect in the world

Introducing innovative sole technology solution from Sports Engineering, Inc. with WPI dev

Sports Engineering, Inc. (SEI) has a sole innovation created by its development team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), that dramatically reduces the risk of ankle, knee and foot injuries without diminishing performance.  To see a brief video of the prototype, click here.

To learn how to get involved if you have an interest, click here and here.






Orthopedic surgery and opioid pain killers

Orthopedic surgery and opioid pain killers

Opioids: Common pain killers for orthopedic surgery

Opioids are commonly prescribed pain killers for orthopedic surgeries. Although opioids are good pain killers, they are also narcotics and put the patient at risk of addiction.

Grant Hill, a champion of the “Choices Matter” campaign encouraging alternative pain management treatments, raises awareness about the opioid crisis. Hill underwent 11 surgeries during his 19-year career in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Orthopedic surgeries have been increasing

A significant number of youth who require an ACL surgery need another non-ACL knee operation later. According to numerous reports, the total number of ACL surgeries has increased over the past twenty years.

Researchers found in a study referred to in “Choices Matter” campaign literature, that there were 260 million opioid prescriptions filled in the US in 2012, which was four times as many as in 1999. After this study, reports have indicated a decrease in opioid prescriptions.

The problem of Opioid addictions remains an epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 60 percent of drug overdose deaths in the US involve opioids.

Side effects of opioid addiction

  • Unconsciousness or unresponsiveness
  • Shallow breathing or no breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils

Preventing surgeries can help the opioid crisis

Surgery is considered a “driver” of the opioid epidemic in the United States.  Certainly use of alternative pain killers can help however, reducing or preventing the number of surgeries can definitely impact the opioid crisis.

Sports Engineering, Inc. working with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, is introducing a patented, first-of-its-kind split-sole technology. The sole technology releases when an impact’s force equals that of just prior to injury, to cut that force in half, rapidly and significantly reduce the risk of injury, and then automatically self-reset.

To see a brief video of Sports Engineering, Inc.’s innovative sole technology that reduces the risk of ankle, knee and foot injury without diminishing performance, click here.


Cheerleader ACL and ankle injuries

Cheerleader ACL and ankle injuries

 3.3 million cheerleaders in US

The size of cheer squads ranges from 5 to 35 athletes. There are 3.3 million cheerleaders in the U.S., and 1.3 million cheer more than 60 days per year.

68% of all cheerleaders are between the ages of 7 to 17.  The average cheerleader is 13 years old.

Regular cheerleading activities

Regular cheerleading activities include:

  • Jumping
  • Landing
  • Pivoting

Regular cheerleading activities lead to injuries to virtually all parts of the body: arms, back, head, legs, knees and ankles.

Common injuries: Ankle and ACL

Ligament sprains are especially common in the ankles and knees. Cheerleaders, primarily girls and young women, experience:

  • Ankle sprains: Landing from stunt and leaps can lead to rolled ankles, especially on grass. Ankle injuries are the most common type of injury in cheerleading.
  • ACL tears: ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament injuries) tears make it difficult or impossible to put weight on the injured knee. Surgery is usually required to repair the ligament.

Cheerleading has the highest rate of catastrophic injury in sports, with 66 percent defined as severe enough as to possibly result in permanent disability, long-lasting medical conditions or a shortened life expectancy — in female athletes.

Solutions to ankle and knee injuries

Common solutions

Training and stretching are recommended for preventative measures. Wrapping knees and ankles are also advised. High cut boots and padding around the knee and ankle are common. Surgery is the most common solution to ACL tears. Seeing a doctor is recommended after an ankle or knee injury.

SEI’s innovative solution

Sports Engineering, Inc.’s (SEI) innovative sole technology can help cheerleaders avoid injuries with its split-sole and self-recovering, spring mechanism. To see a video on SEI’s sole technology, click here.




Why ACL injuries are more common in females

Why ACL injuries are more common in females

2 to 10 times the risk of ACL injury for females

Female athletes are known to have a higher risk of  anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL , injuries. Risk of ACL injuries in female athletes has been found to be 2 to 10 times higher than in males.

Three main reasons 


The reason for the greater chance of ACL injury in women, is primarily the shape of a woman’s hips being not exactly above her knees, according to Dr. Bill Hennessey. Other experts include size variations between men and woman and their different parts, i.e.: pelvis width, Q-angle, size of ACL, size of intercondylar notch (the point at which the ACL crosses the knee joint).


In addition to anatomic differences, hormonal differences have been noted as well.  The ACL has hormone receptors for estrogen and progesterone and some believe that the hormone concentration could be a factor in ACL injuries. The hormonal theory used to be popular but is not widely accepted today.

Differences in how females move

Biomechanical differences or the major ligaments of the knee and the muscles and tendons. Women have been observed to have differences in key knee movements such as jumping, landing and pivoting.

The landing position of women tends to be different than of men. Women tend to land with a straight knee position, where men tend to bend their knees.


Most articles talk about how training and stretching better can help women prevent ACL injuries, but SEI’s innovative sole technology is another solution.
Click here for information on how to get involved if you are an accredited investor with an interest.

Research sources:


ACL Injuries are increasing

ACL Injuries are increasing

The number of ACL injuries appears to be increasing.  A review of articles shows an increase in ACL injuries has been written about in youth, women in basketball, and men in soccer and the NFL.

“Adult” type of the knee injuries can, however, occur in the child.  Anterior cruciate ligament tears, once thought to be extremely rare in children, are receiving more attention in recent years.  It is unknown whether or not the rise in the number of reported tears recently are related to increased awareness by physicians, better diagnostic techniques, such as MRI and arthroscopy, or that possibly more kids are involved in competitive sports,” according to the article, ACL Injuries in Children and Adolescents by Nationwide Children’s.

Women’s Basketball Performance asks “Why do ACL injuries increase by 3% every year?”

The title of this article by Jason Singer at Spectrum’s Health Beat, 11-2017,  says it all for soccer:  Knee injuries spike to ‘epidemic’ level in soccer players. Singer further writes, ” From Michigan to Europe, ACL tears are on the rise.”  He states that “with proper training and smart scheduling, many of these injuries can be prevented.”

The numbers Singer provides, in the article dated 11-2017, include: Premier League players in total suffered 28 knee-ligament injuries last year, the highest number in the last five seasons. And one major Italian team, A.S. Roma, has lost 12 separate players to ACL tears since 2015. Singer spotlights a doctor proposing better training and mixing sports instead of focusing on just one.

SEI proposes new sole technology. See video here.

High ACL numbers present in the NFL. Of the 32 teams, 19 have had at least one player suffer an ACL injury since the start of training camp. The typical season-long average is approximately 1.5 ACL tear per team per year.

“That number will remain steady or perhaps even increase” says Pro Football Doc for the San Diego Tribune, Dr. David Chao is a board certified orthopedic surgeon/sports medicine specialist who spent 17 years (1997-2013) as the head team physician for the San Diego Chargers.

SEI supports better training as a way to prevent ACL, but also recommends new sole technology, see video here.


Why do ACL Injuries Increase by 3% Every Year!

Knee injuries spike to ‘epidemic’ level in soccer players

How to protect from ankle and ACL injuries

With some of the top quality athletic shoes, we see ankle protection in the form of padding and more material around the ankles. See the Jordan AJ XXXII Mid below to the left and the Under Armour Curry 4 below to the right:


Both of the shoes above have ankle protection.

Dr. Christopher Brown, leader of the Sports Engineering, Inc. development team from WPI, noticed that with stiffer ski boots to protect ankles, ACL injuries increased dramatically and grade three knee sprains increased by 209%.

“Supporting the ankle increases loads on the knee,” says Dr. Christopher Brown in a recent presentation. One might find it daunting that by protecting their ankle they actually endanger their anterior cruciate ligament or ACL. Virtually all ankle support increases loads on the knee.

Sports Engineering, Inc.’s sole technology, developed by Dr. Brown and his team at WPI, protects from all types of injury, ankle, foot, knee and ACL, even with ankle supports.

Click here to see the SEI sole technology demonstrated in a video at WPI.

Video of SEI Sole Innovation Prototype

See Sports Engineering, Inc.’s (SEI) video of the innovative sole prototype below and also at the top, in the front and center of the resources tab:

New athletic shoe “sole” design reduces ankle, knee and foot injuries while maintaining athletic performance!

Created, incubated and patented at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI); one of the first engineering and technology universities in the United States. WPI alumni and professors invented the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket (Robert H. Goddard -Class of 1908), the Segway (Dean Kamen), winglets, catalytic converter, cryptography, aiding in the development of the automobile and the creation of stainless steel. An incredible atmosphere for our team to develop such a novel approach to reduce injuries in sports.