The NFL Players Association (NFLPA), through its for-profit subsidiary NFL Players Inc., has invested in TendoNova™ Corporation. TendoNova is an Atlanta-based company that develops medical devices that enable microinvasive orthopedic procedures.

The company’s initial product, the Ocelot™ System, addresses chronic tendon pain, which is prevalent in both athletes and the population at large. The investment in TendoNova further exemplifies the NFLPA’s commitment to the health and longevity of football athletes. The NFLPA has also sponsored Harvard University’s Football Players Health Study, from which TendoNova had previously received research support.

Approximately 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic tendon pain each year. This includes injuries such as tennis elbow, Achilles tendinosis and patellar tendon pain. These conditions are prevalent in NFL players and, if left untreated, can lead to career-ending injuries.

“Chronic tendon pain in my knees was just a normal part of life as a player at all levels of the game, from high school to the NFL. Through my entire career I never found a way to resolve it; it was something I just dealt with. And I was not alone,” said former New Orleans Saints All-Pro offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb.

TendoNova combines decades of regenerative medicine know-how with modern data analytics to enable in-office procedures to treat chronic tendon pain. The Ocelot system encourages the growth of healthy tendon to replace painful lesions by performing a controlled mechanical debridement of pathologic tendon. Current methods of treating chronic tendon pain, such as using a needle to poke holes in a tendon, rely heavily on clinician skill and are expensive, invasive or have inconsistent outcomes. This leaves patients and physicians with limited viable treatment options for patients that fail to heal. TendoNova’s Ocelot System is a smart tool that is easy to use, cost effective and provides real-time data that enhances the clinician’s skill. By making treatment of chronic tendon pain more accessible and reliable, TendoNova’s Ocelot System brings surgical level care to the office and training room.

“We believe investments in companies such as TendoNova are a crucial part of the NFLPA’s mission to improve the health, safety and well-being of players both on and off the field,” said Sean Sansiveri, who oversees the NFLPA’s health, safety and medical research initiatives. “TendoNova’s Ocelot System will help players from all levels of the game overcome nagging injuries so they don’t become lifelong problems.”

Founded in 2017 by four Georgia Tech master’s students and Dr. Kenneth Mautner of Emory University, TendoNova intends to disrupt the market with a suite of tools for microinvasive procedures performed during a visit with a doctor. TendoNova’s Ocelot system is in the final phase of development and funds provided by the NFLPA will enable TendoNova to reach market launch in 2021.


About TendoNova

TendoNova is a medical device company whose initial product is the Ocelot™ system, a patented, cutting edge device and digital health solution that brings surgical level care to the physician office. Designed to treat chronic tendon pains such as tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis, the Ocelot system promises to lower both the recovery time and patient cost by bringing a proven treatment methodology into the physician office setting.


About the NFL Players Association

The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through the 2030 NFL season.


About NFL Players Inc.

NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFLPA, connects businesses to the power of NFL players. NFL Players Inc. creates customized business solutions for partners through licensing, marketing strategy and player activations. For more information, please visit