Irish Ankle Game Changer: TayCo External Ankle Brace revolutionizes injuries

Published: Sep. 28, 2017 at 2:17 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Anyone who has sprained or broken an ankle knows how painful it can be, not to mention clumsy and hard to deal with.

What if we told you there is a revolutionary new ankle brace that works outside the shoe that is getting people back in the game immediately?

The device, designed at Notre Dame for football players and made right here in South Bend, could change the lives of millions with chronic diseases nationwide.

Designed to take care of guys on the gridiron, the TayCo External Ankle Brace is the brain child of Notre Dame Associate Athletic trainer Mike Bean.

His partner, long-time orthopedic surgeon Dr. Fred Ferlic, told us there is a very simple reason Bean came up with the idea. “He got tired of Lou Holtz and Brian Kelly yelling at him, why couldn't he get players back in the game in the first quarter when they sprained their ankles.”

Traditional means, like tape and air casts,, simply weren't working, Ferlic says. “So he (Bean) invented the only brace in the United States that fits outside the shoe. Now he's able to get them back in the game in one series.”

The University of Notre Dame owns the patent for the TayCo External Ankle Brace, which is not only used by Notre Dame's team but dozens of college teams like Purdue and Florida State, to name a few. Five professional football teams have also bought into this unique brace, which fits outside the cleat for comfort and stability.

But the bruisers who wear these on the field aren't the only ones to benefit. The university and Bean asked Ferlic if the TayCo External Ankle Brace had any applications outside of football. “There are many more uses for this than just a football field. This is going to help millions of people. It's not only going to help people with acute conditions like a sprain or a break or a fracture, but it's going to also help thousands of people with MS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's.”

It works by improving their balance and stability, reducing broken hips, arms and knees.

Jacque Hoblik of South Bend beat pancreatic cancer, but chemotherapy took a toll on her nerves. She couldn’t walk. “There really wasn't a life,” she says.

Jacque faced so many ailments, including spinal stenosis and two serious accidents. She thought her life was over, until her physical therapist, Rob Amico of Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers, had an idea.

"You know, I think Dr. Ferlic could help,” Jacque says he told her.

Jacque suffered from what's known as drop foot, and Ferlic thought she would be a perfect candidate for the TayCo brace. “She has no muscle control, no balance. She broke her pelvis, broke her wrist, broke her leg.”

Fit with custom braces, covered by insurance, we found Jacque, who was housebound, at Surestep/Midwest Orthotics of South Bend, where a study done in their gait lab zeroed in on the external brace she needed to help her get back on her feet

“Now she is back driving, she's doing some volunteer work, and I can't tell you the satisfaction I get just talking to her and the hundreds of patients I put this on,” Ferlic says.

Surestep/Midwest Orthotics makes TayCo External Ankle Braces not only for athletes and acute medical conditions, but for steel toe boots, so workers can get back on the job.

From start to finish, the braces -- whether custom or “off the shelf,” depending on shoe size -- are manufactured in South Bend.

First a digital version of the brace is made from foot measurements. The computer measurements are sent to a robotic carver via an STL file, where the boot is carved.

When the carving is done, the brace is covered and then buffed down.

The finished product is then sent to the gridiron to help athletes or to people like Jacque. Jacque can't say enough about these life-changing braces that have her back on her feet and looking forward to life. “I couldn't believe it, I couldn't believe how well I could walk. A big difference, it gave me my life back. It really did. I go everywhere. In fact, in November I am going to California!”

Ferlic says the TayCo External Ankle Brace, with its infancy in football, will keep many more like Jacque out of wheelchairs. “I was involved in orthopedic surgery for 40 years, and this is the most innovative, helpful thing in society I have seen in 40 years. This can help millions of patients.”

Whether you're suffering from a chronic condition like Parkinson's, MS or Alzheimer’s, or running for the goal line, TayCo's goal is to get you back in the game.

The TayCo External Ankle Brace is meant to replace a cast or walking boot and to eliminate ulcers and blisters caused by soft tissue breakdown. Most of all, it helps with balance and mobility.

Its name, by the way, is a combination of Notre Dame trainer Mike Bean's two daughters, Taylor and Courtney.

These external braces fit over your shoes and are covered by most insurance companies.

Ferlic is so passionate about this revolutionary product that he wanted to share his cell phone number, saying he is willing to work with your doctor if you think the TayCo External Ankle Brace may help you or someone you love.

Dr. Fred Ferlic, MD

President, TayCo External Ankle Brace


TayCo Brace, LLC