CLEMSON — Shoulder dislocation and instability are common injuries in contact sports, and many athletes opt to wear braces to prevent more injury rather than facing season-ending surgery.

“Once an athlete faces an initial dislocation, many studies have shown the risk for recurrence is extremely high,” said Riley Csernica of Mount Pleasant, a Clemson University bioengineering and MBA alumna and co-founder of Tarian Orthotics, which is marketing a brace she and other students developed for a class project.

“We aim to revolutionize the products available for people looking to return to high-impact activities following a shoulder injury,” she said.

Tarian Orthotics’ first product is a shoulder-stabilization brace for athletes and other active individuals who experience recurring shoulder instability issues. Unlike other shoulder braces on the market, the Tarian Shoulder Stabilizer is designed to be lightweight, less restrictive, more breathable and supportive than its competitors.

“This brace utilizes a unique stabilization system at the shoulder joint allowing the brace to provide compressive support at the injury site,” said Chelsea Ex-Lubeskie of Goose Creek, another alumna and co-founder of the company. “We’re initially targeting athletes with shoulder injuries, but we’re also introducing the brace to the military and aging adults.”

Several athletic trainers from professional and college sports teams already have expressed interest in Tarian Orthotics’ brace, including the Green Bay Packers, the University of Michigan and Clemson, among others.

“It would be an honor to incorporate a strong, well-designed and functional brace that was developed by Clemson University alums into our treatment for shoulder injuries, especially if the brace gives us a competitive edge for returning athletes to the playing field while performing faster, healthier and stronger,” said Travis Johnston, a Clemson athletic trainer. 

The Tarian Shoulder Stabilizer was developed as part of a senior design project in bioengineering under the guidance of program director John DesJardins. Four senior design team members and the collaborating clinician, Dr. Chuck Thigpen, physical therapist at Proaixs Therapy and adjunct Clemson faculty member, are credited as inventors on the pending patent application.

Csernica was part of a group associated with the senior design team that received a $50,000 NSF I-CORPS grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a business model around their shoulder injury research. The team was a finalist in a national collegiate design competition and Csernica won the Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership’s LaunchPad competition for budding entrepreneurs.

Csernia continued the research and commercialization of the shoulder stabilizer through Clemson’s newly launched Masters of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MBAe). She and Ex-Lubeskie are working with the Clemson University Research Foundation to secure exclusive rights to the technology and plan to introduce their brace to the market in 2014.

— Peyton Bullard


Clemson MBAe Program
Clemson’s MBAe is an academic program for entrepreneurs that grants a Master’s of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and further promotes research and entrepreneurship by helping students jump-start their venture from concept to company.

Clemson University
Ranked No. 25 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.

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