JC Coban didn’t want to be dependent on his mom to dress him. So when the former athlete faced shoulder surgery, he looked around and found nothing to wear afterward. Now you can buy his SlingShirt on his web site or Amazon.com.
Coban, 26, markets his wardrobe invention as “The Shirt Specifically Designed for People Wearing a Sling.” The V-neck has covered magnets on a T-shirt designed for either the left or right.
The story behind the shirt was like a lightbulb gradually turning on, the Boca native told Boca Voice. He had elbow surgery in high school. Then right labrum, Tommy John reconstructive and bone spurs in college. “I’m around baseball, so I knew I’d be in a sling for six or eight weeks,” the former pitcher said. “I wanted to stay independent and I didn’t want help getting dressed.”
So his mom, Mary Coban, cut up a few shirts in advance. “I needed to put it on with one arm, not moving my right arm,” he said. Buttons or Velcro didn’t work. “I was in the kitchen one day and her notes were held up by magnets,” Coban said. That was his aha moment.
Coban did a few prototypes and went into surgery in 2015. “When I was in the recovery room, my mom put the shirt on and it wowed the nurses.” His physical therapists were impressed, too.
“Before, it was out of necessity,” Coban said. But once he got feedback, he started SlingShirt and has since improved the softness of the fabric and the design. “If you look, you can’t tell it’s a modified shirt,” he said.
Coban’s Delray Beach orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steve Meadows is so sold on the shirt, he recommends it and even offered a testimonial. “I continue to recommend the SlingShirt to orthopedic surgeons doing upper extremity surgery,” he told Boca Voice.
“It is a very handy device. I recently utilized it myself when I had surgery on my left elbow. I found it easy to use, and quite comfortable.”
Coban is philosophical about a career as a Major League baseball pitcher that never happened. “When one door closes, another opens,” he said.
By Marci Shatzman