What does State stand for? Innovation

Indiana State’s story is best told through its graduates and faculty. Here is one of a dozen people who exemplifies the university’s key qualities.

From the basement of his family home, Bob McDavid created the first lateral knee brace designed to prevent injury or re-injury to the vulnerable human joint. The year was 1967.

Today, the multi-million dollar industry that grew from those humble roots is going stronger than ever. Based in Woodridge, Ill., with subsidiaries in Japan and Europe, McDavid Inc. designs and markets sports medicine, sports protection and performance apparel for active people and athletes.

It all began when McDavid was drawing diagrams of knees on a chalkboard for a class on kinesiology.  “And one day, the light came on, and I said, ‘Why don’t we just put a bridge over the knee?’” he said.

For his innovation, McDavid crafted a two-piece guard, hinged by a brake-shoe rivet, to be worn on the outside of the leg, fitting alongside the body’s natural hinge of the knee. McDavid and his family — as well as students from Indiana State University — made the braces in the basement of McDavid’s Terre Haute home. Then McDavid traveled to trade shows and schools to market his creation.

Teaching at Indiana State from 1967 to 1992, McDavid is known for other innovations as well, including promoting jogging for fitness in his 1960s classes, long before it became popular.

“At McDavid, we’re convinced that sport can change people. We are certain that fair play and hard work bring integrity to any game,” a company statement notes on McDavid Inc. “We know people want to be smart about the way they train, compete and live. We know that substance is cool and never goes out of style. We believe a company can possess a soul. We celebrate athleticism without cynicism. We tend to go for it on fourth down.”

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