As treating injuries has taken on a heightened awareness in the age of ballooning profession sports salaries, former NBA Commissioner David Stern announced this week he will be leading a $3.8 million funding round into Proteus Motion.
Injury prevention has been a major focus in sports and intelligent sports training startup Proteus … [+]GETTY IMAGES FOR JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER

As salaries in professional sports increase rapidly, the prevention of injuries and the rapid rehabilitation from injury takes on heightened interest by front offices. Whether it is a franchise quarterback missing games or an ace starting pitcher missing critical starts, having top-shelf talent on the bench hurts a team’s chances to reach their potential and, in a salary-cap age, can often be difficult to overcome within a season. 

Proteus Motion, one of the companies hoping to impact the sports physical therapy industry took a big step forward, earlier this week when they announced a $3.8 million fundraising round led by former NBA commissioner David Stern and Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE Ventures), the ownership group behind the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils. The funding round also had included investments from baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and 12-year MLB pitching veteran Chris Capuano as well as John Kosner and Dick Boyce.

Proteus Motion has developed its own proprietary Proteus system, a strength training program widely used by baseball pitchers to fine-tune their pitching motion. One of the primary causes of arm fatigue, inconsistencies in a pitcher’s delivery motion, can lead to more severe injuries, resulting in significant time on the disabled list. If surgery is required, pitchers may not fully recover all their skills. 

While its primary use case is in professional baseball, the Proteus is also currently used by teams in the NHL as well as by the University of Wisconsin athletic department in intercollegiate athletics. With longtime NBA commissioner David Stern coming on board as an investor, it seems like a logical next step that the NBA could be using the Proteus system in the future, as well. 

“Proteus Motion’s technology reinvents strength training,” NBA commissioner emeritus David Stern said in a statement. “Its focus on movement using fluid resistance — similar to water-based exercises but on land — together with its powerful software analyzing strength promises to transform sports performance and recovery.”

The additional funding will be used for software development as well as added capabilities in manufacturing and additional research needed for the continued development of the Proteus system as it enters its next iteration. The company will continue to add more users to its subscription product which allows trainees to access its training content and track trends and customized insights acquired from the 50 million data points captured by the startup to date.

The Proteus hardware is designed to strengthen as well as optimize sports-related movements to prevent joint and ligament damage. It can also be used post-surgery, after a serious injury, in the rehabilitation process to get a player back on the court/field as quickly as possible. 

“It’s incredibly humbling to welcome such titans in the sports and performance industry into the Proteus Motion family,” Proteus Motion Founder and CEO Sam Miller said. “In talking with our investor group, we have the tremendous support of our fundamentally unique approach to reducing musculoskeletal injuries and performance enhancement. This funding will help us achieve our near term goals focused on bringing this value to more professional and competitive athletes.” 

As the physical demands on players of all sports continue to rise, and the stakes increase to keep players healthy and on the field, startups and established players providing solutions in this space will continue to be sought-after investments. With Proteus now connected with more high-profile investors whose reach expands into multiple professional sports leagues, its system should continue to enhance the sports rehabilitation process.