Jonathan Bender, left, demonstrates how the JIBIT MedPro device works during a local presentation. (OBSERVER Photo by Antonio R. Harvey)

SACRAMENTO – When it comes to chronic pain, sometimes the person who endures the discomfort will go through drastic measures to stop the agony by any means necessary.

Jonathan Bender, the No. 5 overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, experienced knee pain that literally ended his basketball career. He later was motivated to resolve it with an invention he created not only to help him, but others too.

Desperate to take pressure off his ailing knees, Bender invented an apparatus from a variety of items he found at Walgreens, Home Depot and Sports Authority. After trial and error, JBIT MedPro was born.

“It was made out adversity, and then problem solving, which I am good at,” Bender, 34, told The OBSERVER during a visit to Sacramento last week. “I visualized it, put it together, and then made it work. In the event of creating something to help my injury, I learned that it could help others with similar conditions,” Bender added.

JBIT MedPro (JB Intensive Trainer) is a series of bands running from the waist down to the Achilles tendon, all connected by a harness and stirrup. For more length around the waist, the device has a waist-belt extender and cushy padding for the back that provides comfort.

The device is designed to strengthen muscles of the core, and upper and lower extremities, which eases shoulder, back, hip, and knee pain during a workout or casual walking. Significantly, JBIT MedPro is portable, adapts to anybody’s natural motion, and is ideal for everyday wear.

The JBIT MedPro, Bender says, serves as a dual purpose from a “preventative standpoint and rehabilitative standpoint” while maintaining full-body fitness.

“My whole goal is to educate people about injury prevention,” Bender said. “We don’t have to wait until we’re 60 or 70 years of age where the joints automatically fail because of the amount of miles you have on them. You can prolong those years,” he added.

Bender was born and raised in Picayune, Mississippi, a part of the New Orleans Metropolitan area. One summer, he grew six inches, which landed him in the hospital. The unusual growth spurt put incredible amount of pressure on his young, growing knees.

He was a McDonald’s High School All-American before he decided to leap to the NBA in 1999. The 7-foot, 202-pound athlete was drafted by Indianapolis where he started his career with the Indiana Pacers.

By the 2004-2005 season, the cartilage in both knees was nearly all gone and he was plagued with injuries and surgical operations that robbed him of his agility and quickness. During this period, he started to think about life after basketball. JBIT MedPro became the path to where he is today. The device went on sale two years ago.

“Obviously, if I was injured, I was frustrated,” Bender said. “That’s when I started using my other skills, one of them being creative, to figure out a solution to a problem. I am not a doctor or medical expert. All of this came about as an idea.”

Bender and his marketing team are currently travelling from city to city to spread the gospel about the device and the opportunities for individuals to sell the item at the grassroot level. Last week he introduced the device for the first time to members of the public in Sacramento.

A few people in Northern California have used the medical device with much success.
Marlene Balingit traveled from Union City to Sacramento to share her experiences of using JBIT MedPro, citing its “spiritual combination” of health and wellness. Balingit is also a “virtual store owner” who sells the $200 device.

“When it comes to the product it works,” Balingit said at the presentation held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. “There is a need to get going to share this with everyone in pain.”

JBIT MedPro proved to help Bender return to the NBA after four years in forced retirement. His design tested remarkably in a biomechanical analysis performed at Purdue University in Indiana. Today, he is helping others take care of their bodies — he calls them “vessels.”

“It’s a lifestyle change. You have to become a totally different person. You need to get into a routine, a healthy routine, and perform on a regular basis,” Bender said. “This is an item that will help you stay in touch with a routine. JBIT will help relieve that pressure to get people back where they need to be — healthy,” he added.

For more information about JBIT MedPro, visit www.jbitmedpro.com or call (888) 978-7081.
By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer