By Kelly Stincer
Whether representing their school colors or participating in a youth league, 30 million U.S. children participate in organized sports annually. And each year almost a third of all childhood injuries are sports-related.
For parents of these young athletes, it can be difficult to assess the seriousness of an injury if a child hasn’t been examined by a medical professional. This can lead to costly, unnecessary trips to the emergency room, or worse, delaying treatment of serious injuries like concussions that need immediate attention. Healthy Roster in Dublin, Ohio, is giving parents peace of mind through a mobile app that connects them with certified athletic trainers (ATCs) at their child’s school or sports league. Parents sign in to the app, and within moments there is an ATC available to offer advice on how to evaluate and treat sports injuries.
“More than 15 million kids will have sports-related injuries this year, and with youth sports, there is not always an ATC on the sidelines,” said Nathan Heerdt, Healthy Roster co-founder and CEO. “Parents and coaches can get medical attention for young athletes with just a tap on their smartphones, and even update injury reports on the app to keep the status of their child up-to-date.”
Healthy Roster’s customers include hospital systems such as University Hospitals, The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, Dayton Children’s Hospital and Orlando Health. The hospitals distribute the app to parents in the leagues or schools that they cover through insurance. Parents can then log in to the Healthy Roster app and request a video conference with a Certified Athletic Trainer. The trainer is able to perform a virtual exam and assess the injury. Along with treating each child, the app also promotes injury reporting, which helps national organizations understand the risks of playing sports and discover ways to keep kids safe.
“This goes beyond traditional telemedicine, where patients are paired with a random medical professional. Healthy Roster connects them with the certified athletic trainers that are familiar with a league and many of its athletes,” said Heerdt. “They often work with the athletes on a regular basis and can follow up to ensure the best treatment.”
The three co-founders of Healthy Roster are no strangers to the world of startups. They formerly worked together at Digital Scout, a high school sports stat-checking app company. After working in the youth sports market for four years, they realized helping parents deal with their kids’ injuries was a big problem. They sold Digital Scout and set out to create an easier way for parents to connect with Certified Athletic Trainers at the point of injury.
Healthy Roster received funding from Rev1 Ventures, a central Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier, and took part in Rev1’s Concept Academy where they were able to make connections with investors and potential customers. In addition, the founders tapped into the organization’s network of entrepreneurial experts to help them build a business structure and make accounting and legal decisions.
Heerdt says support from organizations like Rev1 and the investment at the state level has spurred economic development in Columbus. He believes that tech companies develop in central Ohio because of the availability of resources and talent that allow them to grow and innovate.
“Columbus has a vibrant startup scene because communities and the state have truly embraced it,” said Heerdt. “Tech companies here are solving problems in a lot of industries, and they’re succeeding because they don’t have to do it alone. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of tools and mentors that give them the best chance at growing a thriving business.”