The University of Alabama, which is once again one of the college football expert picks to win the national championship, has licensed the technology behind a collapsible sideline tent that was designed to provide better medical care to athletes, to a company will develop, market, manufacture and distribute the sideline tent.
The agreement between Alabama and Kinematic Sports LLC, will make the SidelinER, available to be purchased by sports teams. The SidelinER also has the potential to be used by emergency response teams. Kinematic Sports, which was founded and owned by three of the SidelinER’s original developers, has a space in The Edge, a business incubator in Alabama. The Edge is a joint project between the University, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, and the city of Tuscaloosa. It has a web presence ready to take orders for the SidelinER.
Dr. Rick Swatloski, the director of the University of Alabama Office for Technology Transfer, said the university is proud to be partners with Kinematic Sports and to bring an idea that started on the university campus into the marketplace. Swatloski also said the SidelinER is representative of entrepreneurship and the innovation that exists between the school’s faculty and staff and students. According to Swatloski, the students growing the technology into a full-fledged business was the only outcome the school pursued.
Alabama has filed for a provisional patent for the design, which was developed by Jeff Allen, the director of sports medicine at Alabama, and four mechanical engineering students. Allen, as well as Jared Cassity and Patrick Powell, two of the four engineering students that worked on the project, are part of Kinematic Sports. Jared Porteous and Christian Parris, the other two students that worked on the project before graduating, are listed on the patent application as co-inventors of the technology.
The SidelinER can be set up in seconds on any sideline without interfering with anyone on the sideline or blocking the view of fans watching the game. For most of the game, the tent is collapsed on the sideline, but when a player is injured, and needs medical attention, it can be expanded over the examination table.
With the exception of the first game Alabama played in 2016, the tent has been used at every home and away game by the team. Allen called the tent a game changer for the team because he believes that it helped the team have a better season. The advantage the SidelinER provides for the team is that it gives the players privacy when they are being evaluated by the medical staff, which is better than the traditional method of being evaluated in front of fans, media, and opposing teams.
The SidelinER also eliminates a lot of the distraction that comes with treating players in front of loud crowds. Most commercially available tents like the ones used to tailgate before games usually require more than one person to set up, however, the SidelinER is portable and can be set up within seconds. With the success they had using the SidelinER last season, Cassity is hoping that other colleges, high schools and first responders start using the tent as well.