South Bend startup provided the teen athlete with custom versions of its revolutionary ankle brace used by NFL and collegiate teams
SOUTH BEND, IND, September 12, 2023: A collaboration between the family of Eric Kilburn Jr. and TayCo Brace, creator and producer of a revolutionary ankle brace trusted by more than 22 NFL teams and over 80 intercollegiate athletic programs, is making it possible for the Michigan teenager who wears size 23 shoes to rejoin his teammates on the football field.
Earlier this year, Kilburn made headlines when several prominent shoe companies and former professional athletes took notice of his family’s search for shoes that fit his feet properly. The companies custom-built and donated shoes to help relieve foot pain and blisters. Still, the 6’10” Goodrich High School sophomore continued to live with ankle pain that prevented him from playing football to the best of his abilities.
A typical ankle brace often requires an athlete to go up a shoe size, which wasn’t a possibility for Kilburn. Upon learning of the teen’s plight, TayCo Brace stepped up to help his family find a custom solution. The company’s athletic external ankle brace is the only brace that fits over an athlete’s cleats instead of being worn inside the shoe. It allows injured athletes to return immediately to play with stability and protection and can also be used as a preventative measure to prevent injuries during practice or gameplay.
“TayCo Brace is providing our family with peace of mind, and we’re not as concerned about seeing that ankle twist or watching him limp off the football field,” said Rebecca Kilburn, Eric’s mom. “Wearing the ankle braces will allow Eric to be a part of the team, which means everything to him and us. We’re so grateful he’s been given this opportunity.”
TayCo Brace built Kilburn’s braces from the ground up – as it does all custom braces – resulting in the largest braces produced by the company to date. Using its personalized manufacturing process, TayCo Brace cast Kilburn to capture his unique ankle anatomy, make an individualized form, mold the plastics, and then cut out, assemble and shape the finished products by hand.
Beyond football, the braces will help improve Kilburn’s overall ankle recovery experience. Traditional walking boots change the length of the injured leg, often leading to hip and knee problems. The TayCo Brace helps patients maintain a normal gait during the healing process, which can help eliminate these painful issues.
“While it means a lot to the TayCo Brace team to help Eric return to the football field, we wanted to provide braces that helped him recover and stabilize his ankle so that it heals properly,” said Gavin Ferlic, co-founder and CEO of TayCo Brace. “That’s in line with the ultimate goal of our organization and product line, which is to help people in every walk of life, from athletes to weekend warriors and industrial professionals to the men and women of our military, function at a normal level with the support they need to accommodate their activities and daily living.”
Since 2016, TayCo Brace has partnered with hospitals, medical practices, military organizations and athletic trainers across nationwide to help 20,000 patients and counting recover from ankle and hindfoot injuries. Poised for further expansion, the company recently launched its first off-the-shelf product, available for purchase in its online patient shop without a physician’s order. To learn more about TayCo Brace and how it’s changing the game for ankle recovery, visit taycobrace.com.
About TayCo Brace, Inc.
TayCo Brace is empowering mobility and stability by raising the standard of care for doctors who want to get their patients back to normal faster, with fewer life disruptions, and exceptional outcomes after ankle and hindfoot injuries. We partner with hospitals, medical practices, military organizations and athletic trainers across the country to help them outperform traditional therapies and increase long-term mobility with an external ankle brace that’s changing the way recovery looks and feels. The TayCo Brace has been used by over 20,000 patients, 80+ NCAA football teams, 22+ NFL teams, and special forces. Founded in 2016 as a product of the University of Notre Dame’s IDEA Center, TayCo Brace has been listed as a Top 10 Innovation in Podiatry, a winner of the “For Such A Time As This – OrthoChallenge,” and received the 1st Source Bank Commercialization Award.