What recession? Medical startup hits stride in ‘09
By Sam Boykin CHARLOTTE — Clear Collar, a unique new medical device, is an idea that percolated for a decade. But it wasn’t until last year — ironically, during one of history’s worst recessions — that the company behind the product really took off. Clear Advantage Collar, Inc. CEO Cassmer Ward and a handful of employees were able to raise enough capital in 2009 to start production, and next month, sample models of the potentially life-saving collars are scheduled to hit the market. Alan Donaldson, an emergency room nurse, came up with the idea for Clear Collar after watching injured people arrive at the hospital wearing opaque neck collars placed on them by EMTs. To check for trauma, doctors and nurses would have to remove the collars, increasing the risk of spine injuries and paralysis. It dawned on Donaldson, who works at Rowan Regional Hospital in Salisbury, that a transparent collar would enable medical personnel to assess injuries without further endangering the patient.