While watching a football game at Seabreeze High School as a freshman in 2015, Bryson Pritchard saw a player go down injured. A medical staff ran out and provided aid to the student, including members of the Health Academy at the high school.
“That was my first-time seeing injuries and treating people on a personal level,” he said. “That’s when my interest began.”
He joined the Health Academy, eventually being named most valuable player and serving as ambassador his senior year.
Now a sophomore at Stetson University, his interest in health care continues, and he won first place in two entrepreneur pitch competitions in one weekend in early March: the 2019 Cairns Foundation Innovation Challenge held at the Advanced Technology Center in Daytona Beach, and the next day in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference.
Pritchard, of Ormond Beach, walked away with $12,000 in total cash winnings as well as a one-year resident enrollment in the UCF Volusia County Business Incubator valued at another $10,000. Pritchard’s idea, a medical device to help mitigate bloodstream infection rates, is recognized for its potential to improve safety and efficiency in trauma centers.
GETTING THE IDEA
A pre-med student, Pritchard studies international business with a minor in entrepreneurship. He also works at Halifax Health as a critical care technician in the ICU, and that’s when he got the idea for his product, while involved with a cardiac arrest situation.
After it was over, he looked down and saw used syringes with on the floor.
“That’s when I realized there’s a problem”
BRYSON PRITCHARD, former Seabreeze High School student
“That’s when I realized there’s a problem,” he said. “There should be a better way.”
Normally, two syringes are used when flushing a catheter and delivering medicine. Whenever a syringe is used, there’s a chance for infection, so Pritchard has invented one that does both steps.
“With two syringes, you introduce a foreign object to the IV port twice,” he said. “With my syringe, you cut it in half.”
Pritchard sees himself as a doctor in emergency medicine someday, using his syringe.
“This could directly save lives and improve patient outcomes,” he said.
Overall, Stetson students won $33,500 in the recent competition.
“I have never been as proud of my students in my 30-plus-year career,” said William Jackson, professor of entrepreneurship and director of Stetson’s Prince Entrepreneurship Program.
Earlier this year, Pritchard, 19, won $3,500 in a worldwide entrepreneurship competition held in Kansas City, Missouri, where he placed second for the medical device idea in the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization's Annual Pitch Competition.
The Cairns Foundation Innovation Challenge gives students enrolled in higher education in Volusia County an opportunity to present an entrepreneurial project idea to a panel of judges.
IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP
“I’m so grateful to have represented Stetson at these competitions,” Pritchard said. “This experience has helped mold me into the entrepreneur and student I am. My winnings are going to be used to further develop my idea, hopefully to a stage where it can start making a difference in patient outcomes.”
Pritchard said he chose Stetson because of its size and the chance for more one-on-one attention, and it has worked out well.
“That’s the key right there,” he said. “It’s the mentorship and coaching. It really makes a difference when it comes to these competitions. When you have people around you that have a lot more experience and knowledge than you do. I’m still in shock about the outcome.”