Wilmington Startup Signs On Former NFL Player

By Johanna Cano, posted Jan 27, 2022
Merril Hoge
A local startup has scored the endorsement of former NFL player Merril Hoge, according to a press release this week.

SportGait, a medical technology company that has developed concussion support and recovery tools, has signed on Hoge — a former NFL running back, ESPN analyst and author — as an adviser.

"I believe you will always get exposed for integrity when it comes to business, so it's better to be exposed for having it. That is one reason I joined SportGait," Hoge said in the press release. "The other reason is their protocols on head trauma, steps in evaluation and steps to return to play are simple to understand and apply. That right there makes any environment where head trauma can occur a better environment.”

Hoge, who played with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears, is a brain health advocate who has himself experienced two major concussions and what he describes as poor medical supervision that ended his football career, according to the release.

“During his long and difficult recovery, Hoge watched as stories of former players claiming that head trauma caused health issues later in life came to dominate the news cycle. When these stories spiraled into calls to ban youth football, Hoge began researching,” the release stated.

During this search he found Petter Cummings, a board-certified forensic neuropathologist and a SportGait adviser.

"As a parent, coach and physician, I've had the opportunity to see virtually every concussion test in action,” Cummings said. “SportGait will revolutionize the way we diagnose and manage concussions — not just in athletes but in everyone who sustains a head injury.”

Led by CEO Chris Newton, SportGait assists medical professionals, coaches and parents whenever an athlete experiences a concussion. The company provides clinical decision support including assisting with concussion diagnosis, treatment and recovery and it has launched an app that allows its users to share information in real-time and that has educational tools.

SportGait, under the parent company LifeGait, has received investment from Seawhawk Innovation, an organization with a public-private partnership with the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Since 2017, the company has raised about $2 million, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
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