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But we didn’t start that way. In the beginning, we were simply DonJoy, a small company founded in a Carlsbad, California garage in 1978 by the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line captain and a local lawyer.
Mark Nordquist and Ken Reed named their new company after their wives, Donna and Joy, and DonJoy was born.
The first products were simple sleeves made of sewn-together neoprene that were pulled over the knee, ankle, and elbow joints for support.
Business really began to grow in 1980 when DonJoy introduced an off-the-shelf rigid knee support device called the 4-point knee brace.
The timing couldn’t have been better. The modern era of sports medicine was in its infancy and products like DonJoy’s were suddenly in high demand.
In 1987 Smith & Nephew, a medical devices conglomerate based in London, took notice of the growing company and bought DonJoy for twenty million dollars.
In 1995 DonJoy acquired Procare, a leading orthopedic soft goods company, and by the late 1990s DonJoy was generating approximately one-hundred million dollars a year in revenue.
In 1999, the DonJoy management team arranged a leveraged buyout, changed the name from DonJoy to DJ Orthopedics, and then took the company public again in 2001.
Over the next several years the company experienced an unprecedented period of growth. All or part of seven new companies were acquired, including the soft goods business of Depuy; bone growth stimulation from Orthologic; the cold therapy product line of Durakold; superior medical equipment; Axmed; the orthopedic soft goods business of Encore; and finally Aircast in 2006. That same year the company name was changed to DJO Incorporated to better reflect the broad range of product lines it now provided.
In 2007, the company’s fortunes changed forever. DJO was purchased by the Blackstone Group and again became a privately held company.
With the purchase, Blackstone merged DJO with another Blackstone-owned company called Reable Therapeutics which included the Empi, Chattanooga and Encore product lines. The combined companies were given the DJO name, changing the orthopedic devices industry virtually overnight with its unrivaled offering of rehabilitation, pain therapy, physical therapy, and surgical reconstructive implants.
Over the past several years, DJO has purchased several of its overseas distributors in key locations, including Australia, Canada, South Africa, and Tunisia. These strategic acquisitions give the company almost total control over the sales and distribution of its products in the more than three dozen countries it serves.
Today, DJO is known as DJO Global and continues to grow its product offerings with strategic acquisitions, including Bell-Horn, Elastic Therapy, and Dr. Comfort. DJO Global is now a billion-dollar company dedicated to enabling people to live their lives to the fullest by providing intelligent medical devices and services from prevention to recovery.