Innovating for athletes & beyond, Lincoln startup gets $1.5M in military grants

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - For one Lincoln startup, the focus is on athlete safety and recovery and a recent round of grant funding now has them designing for a new market: the U.S. military.

ARYSE was started about six years ago, looking to break into the world of sportswear safety. To take their gear to the next level, they’ve teamed up with a former Husker athletic trainer to tap a new audience for their newest line of high-tech orthopedic braces.

“They’re designed to work with the way the body is designed to work and yet protect the way the body is designed to protect,” said Bryan Carlson, CEO and owner of ARYSE.

Much of the design and invention work happens in a creative space tucked inside their offices in northwest Lincoln. On most days, you can find Doak Ostergard there, he runs Disruptive Athletic Technology. ARYSE has partnered with Disruptive to help manufacture and sell its products.

“It’s just really easy to keep using what you’ve done, keep repeating, repeating,” said Ostergard. “And I’ve run into views on a certain product, and it’s like, gosh, this still doesn’t work, right doesn’t work, right. And I’d end up making something.”

Ostergard’s previous work as an athletic trainer under Tom Osborne helped him create and understand what products athletes need. He said in the past 20 years, the industry has really changed and continues to follow athletes’ needs.

“Working with athletes and in the trenches, and you find a lot of these things. Why are we keep doing this? Why are we doing this? And generally, it’s because I didn’t have enough time to do a better solution,” Ostergard said.

Bringing their ideas to life, the items are created and shipped in Lincoln.

Some of their most recent work is funded by a combined $1.5 million in military grants to create knee braces that fit underneath uniforms and expand their development of existing successful products, like ankle braces.

“It’s been fun to really see that build over there, you know, the last few years and it’ll just continue to grow into the future as we continue to bring on more partners and continue to innovate with new products,” Carlson said.

ARYSE said knee injuries are one of the most common types of lower extremity injuries sustained in the military, resulting in a combined 25 million limited or lost duty days and costing the Military Health System millions of dollars annually.