Innovation drives the American dream.  Jack Rasmussen, a punter at Missouri Western State University recently signed a contract with a Nike manufacturer to bring his innovation to life. The idea of designing and creating an athletic shoe that reduces anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries first started when he was 19. His father suggested the idea of something similar but had no resources to pursue the opportunity. Jack, however,  took that as a challenge and educated himself by constant visits to the library, as well as having discussions with business professionals, sports medicine therapists, coaches, trainers and athletes.  

“I saw the need for a better shoe first hand as a college athlete and bringing that vision to life was a challenge I obsessed about for years. I’ve learned things I knew nothing about in my quest to improve a shoe which would both enhance an athlete’s performance and reduce the risk of life-changing injury. It’s actually like putting together a puzzle with physics, material science, medicine, physical therapy and now sports marketing… there are a lot of moving parts and it’s been a challenge,” said Jack. There have been many highs and lows but the most rewarding day for him was when his patent got approved in April 2019 and was published in August 2019. The journey took him four years but it is finally paying off. 

Jack’s business strategy is to take this shoe to the next level with a large, well-financed company to integrate the technology into their product and get this new shoe into the mass market. Being an athlete himself, he knows the importance of patience, attention to detail, and persistence to accomplish a goal. He hopes his innovation will help other athletes improve performance and reduce the risk of ACL injuries. 

“One of the most rewarding aspects of MWSU Athletics is seeing student-athletes discover their post-graduate passion while working with academic leaders on campus,” said Dr. Josh Looney, vice president for intercollegiate athletics. “Jack’s ability to excel on the field while aligning his entrepreneurship passion and pursuing his graduate degree is a story worth telling. He’s an example of what MWSU is all about.”

Jack will be graduating in November with a Bachelor degree in Recreational Management. Then, he is furthering his business education and is enrolled in Missouri Western’s MBA program.