Written by Anastasia Semien
It all started with a mother’s outrage at her child contracting strep throat after drinking behind another child while playing sports, and a light bulb went off in Nicole Reeder’s head.
Reeder, who graduated from Grambling State University with a degree in chemistry in 2004, then created ID Me Bands, the first functional bottles marker for athletic environments.
These markers, or bands, help athletes uniquely identify their bottles and can also be worn on wrists and ankles. ID Me Bands help combat the epidemic of individuals spreading germs and illnesses to their teammates.
“You have entire teams getting (mononucleosis) because they’re sharing bottles,” Reeder said. “You constantly hear stories like that.”
Reeder, a Tenn. native, has already garnered the support of some big names like the Memphis Grizzlies and Chick-fil-A, which uses them at their yearly baseball tournament. ID Me Bands are also used by AAU Girls Basketball teams, and Athletic apparel store College Station even sells them.
“It’s time to shine light on the habit of sharing water bottles,” Reeder said.
The company’s goal is to eventually have all athletic groups across the world use ID Me Bands and thus prevent the spread of not only mononucleosis and meningitis, but also other saliva-transmitted diseases such as the common cold, mumps and cold sores, or herpes simplex.
“The challenge is to change mindsets like condoms did (when they appeared in the market),” Reeder added.
After graduating Reeder wanted to eventually get her Ph. D in biological sciences and work in research. She wanted to find a cure for diseases such as lupus, which is something her sister has suffered from for a long while. Even though she’s on a different path, she still feels that she’s bettering the lives of people all over the world- only in a different way.
“There’s really an underlying enemy to the overall health of athletes that this band can prevent,” ID Me Bands co-owner Keith Carter said. “It is very alarming what [illnesses are] being passed around these days.”
New York rugby player Nick Springer was 14 as and when he caught meningitis a decade and a half ago after sharing a water bottle at a sports camp; he was forced to have all of his limbs amputated. Several athletes, such as 15-year-old Drew Albrecht of Washington, have even died of the inflammatory disease after drinking behind their teammates.
Reeder said enough is enough. She is on a relentless journey to make sure stories like those never happen again.
“I wanted to do something that had never been done in health care,” she added.
*This post is sponsored by ID Me Bands.