News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Pro Sports

December 4, 2013

Carmel firm’s brace a good fit for Manning

CARMEL — Local entrepreneur Rick Peters is a devoted Indianapolis Colts fan, but he jumped out of his living room recliner on the evening of Nov. 13 when he saw an ESPN report on Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s bad ankle.

Manning hurt the ankle in a loss — ironically at Indianapolis — on Oct. 20 and had aggravated it so badly in the subsequent two games that there were whispers the future Hall-of-Famer might miss the Nov. 17 game against division rival Kansas City.

Standing in front of his television, Peters, founder of Carmel-based Ultra Athlete LLC — a small manufacturing firm with a growing reputation for state-of-the-art ankle braces — figured he could do for Manning what he had done for numerous athletes before.

So the next morning, a Thursday, Peters took one of his company’s newest ankle braces, the Ultra CTS — which had just hit the market in January — and popped it in a FedEx box to Denver’s head trainer without so much as a phone call.

The CTS, Peters told the Indianapolis Business Journal was perfect for Manning’s high ankle sprain. Not only does it extend high up on the ankle, it is designed to be lighter and less bulky while at the same time offering more support than other braces, Peters explained, adding that the user’s body heat molds the specially developed resin to the leg and foot.

“It offers support, but also allows an athlete to retain his mobility, and that’s key,” Peters said. “Once it molds to your lower leg, it’s very comfortable.”

Peters figured his brace would arrive in Denver on Friday, just in time for Manning, a former Colt, to give it a two-day test spin before Sunday’s crucial game.

That Sunday, when NBC’s cameras zoomed in on Manning’s lower leg, Peters immediately noticed his newest creation, made especially for acute injuries, nestled around Manning’s right ankle and wrapped under a layer of athletic tape.

It was sweet satisfaction for the 53-year-old inventor who’s spent the last 30 years designing and developing ankle braces.

“It’s strong validation for all the hard work and the thousands and thousands of decisions you have to make during design and development,” Peters said. “To see one of the greatest athletes on one of the world’s biggest stages wearing your product is pretty fulfilling.”

Manning also wore the brace in Denver’s matchup at New England on Nov. 24. Peters thinks his invention could have a profound impact on the Broncos’ season.

“I know that injury,” said Peters, an Indiana State University graduate and a certified athletic trainer. “I don’t think he could have played without that brace.”

While Peters was thrilled Manning chose to use the unsolicited gift from Ultra Athlete, he wasn’t necessarily surprised.

“That’s what we do. We help athletes — from youth to pro — prevent, recover from and play through ankle injuries,” Peters said. “So why not Peyton Manning?”

Recent sales for Peters’ 15-year-old company seem to back up his claims.

Ultra Athlete’s sales nearly doubled in 2012 and are up 112 percent through the first nine months of this year compared to the same period a year ago. More than 80 percent of the company’s sales are to athletes, with the other part sold strictly for medical use.

Not only are Ultra Athlete’s products designed and developed in Carmel, the injection molding for the plastic shells are done at Noblesville-based Metro Plastics Technologies Inc. and they are manufactured by Fortville-based Genesis Plastics Welding.

“Making the product locally helps us better handle quality control,” Peters said. “Supporting other Indiana companies also feels like the right thing to do.”

Peters’ passion for addressing ankle issues goes back to his days as a student trainer at ISU in the early 1980s.

“I saw that ankle injuries were one of the most common problems for all athletes,” Peters said. “The old lace-up ankle braces were such an old technology and, a lot of times, they were simply ineffective.”

Working with a Terre Haute-area high school as part of an ISU class, Peters used a jigsaw to fashion his first ankle brace from parts of a McDonald’s food tray and other items commonly found in a training room.

Peters patented his first ankle brace in 1984, revolutionizing the industry by adding a hinge to traditional stirrup braces for greater mobility. In 1989, he founded Active Ankle Systems.

“The ankle brace technology basically hadn’t changed for 100 years,” said Ned Shannon, University of Indianapolis head athletic trainer. “Rick changed all that. He moved the ankle brace ahead light years. His products allow athletes who would otherwise be sidelined to get back in the game.”

Peters, who now holds 18 patents, left Active Ankle in 1996 because he said investors behind the operation wanted to diversify into other types of braces and products. Active Ankle Systems, which is now owned by Kansas-based Cramer Products Inc., remains a market leader in braces.

In 1998, Peters founded Athlete Protection Gear LLC, which changed its name to Ultra Athlete LLC in 2001 and began marketing products under the Ultra Ankle brand. Peters buried himself in research and development for several years.

Slowly, he built a mostly Midwestern distribution network and began to gain a following with athletes from the grass-roots level to major colleges and even some professionals. His customer base grew to include athletes from almost every Indiana college and high-profile national programs such as the LSU football team and the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team.

On the professional level, members of the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts began to use Ultra Ankle products. Last year, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford donned one of Peters’ braces.

Ultra Athlete’s products are sold through three channels: catalogs, the company’s website and distributors who sell directly to teams.

Ultra Athlete markets three models: the Ultra Zoom, which is made for prevention and sells for $44.95; the Ultra High-5, which is for chronic ankle instability and recovering athletes and sells for $59.95; and the Ultra CTS, which sells for $119.95. After only 10 months on the market, the CTS — the brace Manning is using — already accounts for 25 percent of the firm’s revenue this year.

The annual U.S. market for ankle braces is $300 million — and the world market is double that, according to Maryland-based research firm Frost & Sullivan. The ankle-brace product category ranks second only to knee bracing in overall annual revenue and is the second-fastest-growing product in the brace category in the United States — 4.8 percent annually — behind only neck and back braces, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Though Peters and CEO Tom Vanneman declined to divulge the company’s revenue, they said they expect Ultra Athlete to have at least 3 percent of the U.S. ankle brace market share by 2016. Using Frost & Sullivan’s projections, 3 percent of the U.S. market in 2016 would be $10 million.

“The company is just now gaining the bandwidth needed to properly promote its products,” Vanneman said. “Now that we have the pieces in place, we’re confident sales will really take off.”

Anthony Schoettle is a reporter for the Indianapolis Business Journal

Carmel

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Pro Sports
  • SPT 072314 PHEGLEY LINE.jpg Grinding away: Phegley, Ashley strive for shot in major leagues

    Being a catcher in professional baseball is taxing. Not only on the knees and hands — and various other parts of the human anatomy — but it’s a mental grind as well.

    July 23, 2014 5 Photos

  • APTOPIX Colts Report _Tayl.jpg Wayne gets special escort to Colts’ training camp

    Wide receiver Reggie Wayne has seemingly raised the bar the last several years when it comes to making flashy arrivals for Indianapolis Colts training camp. So when the unmistakable roar of an IndyCar engine was heard on the Anderson University campus Wednesday morning, nobody was surprised. Wayne, decked out in an official racing uniform and custom-made helmet, had reported for duty.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pacers sign Stuckey, face uphill battle

    Last week, the Indiana Pacers lost Lance Stephenson. On Monday, they replaced one of the NBA’s best young players with shooting guard Rodney Stuckey. It’s a swap that will make it a challenge for Indiana to win a third straight title in a division that might be the toughest in basketball.

    July 21, 2014

  • lance.jpg Pacers’ Stephenson goes to Hornets

    Lance Stephenson is bringing his swag to Charlotte. The controversial shooting guard has agreed to a $27 million, three-year deal with the Hornets, according to a person familiar with the contract. The deal includes a team option for the third season.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • stuckey2.jpg AP Source: Pacers get Stuckey for one year

    A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Indiana Pacers have agreed to terms with free agent guard Rodney Stuckey on a one-year deal to help replace the departed Lance Stephenson.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cardinals Dodgers Bas_Tayl.jpg Major League All-Star Game: Bring on the heat

    Mike Matheny had quite the choice for the National League’s All-Star starter.
    There was his own Adam Wainwright, the St. Louis Cardinals ace with a 12-4 record and a 1.83 ERA. And there was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA and fresh off a 41-inning scoreless streak that ended last week. He chose Wainwright, who will start tonight at Target Field against the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pacers face new obstacles in NBA Central

    The road to another Eastern Conference final just got a whole lot tougher for the Indiana Pacers. In less than a month, they’ve seen their division transformed from Lottery Central to the NBA’s center of attention.

    July 14, 2014

  • Pacers sign three free agents

    The Pacers couldn’t keep waiting around for Lance Stephenson to make up his mind. So on Friday, they went to work. The two-time Eastern Conference runner-ups announced they had signed three free agents — backup big man Lavoy Allen, swingman C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez, a sharp-shooting forward from Europe.

    July 11, 2014

  • Odum heads for Vegas with Kings summer team

    Terre Haute native Jake Odum scored three points in the Indiana Pacers’ 84-74 victory on Thursday over the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.

    July 11, 2014

  • odum.jpg Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play

    Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Odum scores 2 points off bench for Pacers

    Three of the top picks in last month’s draft are adjusting to NBA at different speeds at the Orlando Pro Summer League.

    July 7, 2014

  • SPT021914ISUMBB odum.jpg ISU's Odum talks about agreeing to play for Pacers' summer-league team

    No team selected him in the two-round NBA draft Thursday night, but Terre Haute native and four-year Indiana State basketball standout Jake Odum agreed Friday to play for the Indiana Pacers’ summer-league squad next month.

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • LeBron James tells Heat he will become a free agent

    LeBron James delivered his message loud and clear, without actually saying a word.
    He’s willing to leave Miami, if that’s what it will take to win more championships. And what happens next will likely be up to not just the Heat, but Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as well.

    June 24, 2014

  • NBA Draft Big Risk Ba_Gold.jpg Big man curse always affects NBA draft

    Greg Oden has had years to think about the plight of his knees, and still has no good answers. The No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft is a poster child for big man bad luck, an epidemic that’s been sweeping the league for years. The latest victim seems to be Joel Embiid, a 7-footer expected to be the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s draft before a recently suffered stress fracture in his right foot almost certainly robbed the former Kansas star of that chance.

    June 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • clark.jpg Retiring as Colt, Clark appreciates Terre Haute fans

    Dallas Clark was always a fan favorite when the Indianapolis Colts conducted their annual summer training-camp workouts at Rose-Hulman. During an emotional 45-minute retirement ceremony Wednesday morning at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, Clark — who spent 11 seasons as a tight end in the NFL (nine with the Colts) and signed a one-day career-ending contract with the Colts this week — admitted the obvious. The team’s fans in Terre Haute meant a lot to him too.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Team’s all-time top tight end Clark to retire as Colt

    Jeff Saturday did it last year, returning to the Indianapolis Colts after a brief stint as a center with the Green Bay Packers and officially ending his National Football League career with the team where he had his most success. Now it looks like Dallas Clark will be following in Saturday’s footsteps.

    June 16, 2014

  • 17_Lucas_Jeremy_PhotoByNIKOLAUS_06.jpg FROM TERRE HAUTE TO THE MAJORS: Catchers Phegley, Lucas putting together solid seasons

    Two Vigo County catcher prospects are accumulating strong numbers as backstops in professional baseball.
    Terre Haute North product Josh Phegley has three home runs in his past six games to put his power numbers close to on par with his career-best 2013 season, and West Vigo alum Jeremy Lucas took a six-game hitting streak into Friday night’s doubleheader for the Carolina Mudcats.

    June 14, 2014 3 Photos

  • Reed signs with Astros

    A.J. Reed’s Wednesday was already pretty good when he was named Baseball America’s College Player of the Year in the morning. In the afternoon, it got even better for the Terre Haute native. The Houston Astros, who drafted Reed with the first pick of the second round in last week’s Major League Baseball draft, announced that they had agreed to a deal with Reed. According to several sources, Reed signed his deal for $1.35 million.

    June 11, 2014

  • APTOPIX IndyCar Texas_Pear.jpg Master of ovals, Ed Carpenter celebrates win at Texas

     Car owner Ed Carpenter now drives his car only on ovals. He does it well.

    Carpenter won the IndyCar Series race on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, staying in front of Will Power during a two-lap shootout after a late caution.

    June 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT031114 reed2.jpg A.J. Reed picked by Astros with first pick of second round

    Terre Haute native A.J. Reed wasn’t expecting the Houston Astros to be the team that would select him in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.
    But now that they nabbed him late Thursday night with the first pick of the second round, No. 42 overall, he’s ready to wear an Astros cap.

    June 5, 2014 5 Photos

  • SPT041113lutz point.jpg Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts

    The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.

    June 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pacers Heat Basketbal_Tayl.jpg Staying together: Pacers eager to keep Stephenson, starters intact

    Larry Bird wants Lance Stephenson back with the Indiana Pacers at the right price.

    June 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pacers Heat Basketbal_Tayl(1).jpg Miami puts emphatic end to Eastern Conference Finals

    The Heat became the third franchise in NBA history to reach the title series in four consecutive seasons, a laugher of a conference-title finale getting them there again Friday night. LeBron James and Chris Bosh each scored 25 points, and Miami eliminated the Pacers for the third straight year with a 117-92 romp in Game 6 of the East championship series.

    May 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • George cries foul after Pacers fall 102-90 to Heat

    The Pacers fall behind 3-1 in Eastern Conference Finals.

    May 27, 2014

  • Mathis apologizes to teammates, wishes he had a 'redo'

    Just as Indianapolis Colts players rallied around head coach Chuck Pagano in 2012 and wide receiver Reggie Wayne in 2013, not having outside linebacker Robert Mathis available for the first four games of the 2014 NFL season has elicited a familiar-sounding call.

    May 21, 2014

  • James helps Heat beat Pacers 87-83 in Game 2

    LeBron James scored six straight points to spark the decisive 12-2 run and the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 87-83 on Tuesday night to leave the Eastern Conference finals tied at a game apiece.
    James had 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. Dwyane Wade had 23 points, 13 in the first half when the Heat desperately needed them to stay close.
    Game 3 is Saturday in Miami.

    May 20, 2014

  • Pence, Indianapolis mayor lament losing Super Bowl

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard are lamenting the city losing its bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl.

    May 20, 2014

  • James, Heat seek to regroup vs. Pacers

    LeBron James is ready to help the Miami Heat get even against the Indiana Pacers.

    May 19, 2014

  • No longer shooting like a brick ‘Wall’

    It’s unclear exactly when John Wall got his mojo back. Maybe it started on the plane ride to Indianapolis, when he watched movies and remained unusually quiet while thinking to himself: “If we lost this series, I’d put it all on my shoulders.”

    May 14, 2014

  • Wizards Pacers Basket_Tayl.jpg Pacers blown out by Wizards 102-79

    Marcin Gortat had 31 points and 16 rebounds, John Wall added 27 points and the Washington Wizards rode a 39-rebound advantage to a 102-79 rout of Indiana on Tuesday night, cutting the Pacers’ lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals to 3-2.
    Washington can even the series at home Thursday in Game 6.
    It was a stunning turnaround for a team that had lost the last three. But with Gortat matching a career high in points and posting a playoff career high in rebounds, Washington held a 62-23 rebounding edge.

    May 14, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con
NDN Video
GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity