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SOLIUS CEO Rick Hennessey with the second place prize at the NFL’s 1st and Future event in Atlanta on Saturday. (Rick Hennessey Photo)

The Seahawks aren’t playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday, but there’s another Seattle-area team doing its own type of winning this weekend in Atlanta.

Seattle-based company Solius won a $20,000 second place prize on Saturday at the NFL’s 1st and Future startup competition designed to promote innovation in player health, safety, and performance.

Founded in 2013 and led by CEO Rick Hennessey, Solius has developed light therapy that can stimulate the production of critical hormones and peptides. Last year it started rolling out light therapy kiosks in Vancouver, B.C., that help users increase vitamin D levels. An estimated 1 billion people worldwide have inadequate levels of vitamin D, according to Harvard University, and research shows that deficiency is a more pressing problem than once thought.

Hennessey, who also won a pair of Super Bowl tickets, said Solius can be a “game-changer” for athletes looking to reduce injuries and speed recovery.

“It is an honor for Solius to be recognized by sports medicine experts and the NFL as a leader in moving the future of health forward for athletes,” Hennessey told GeekWire on Saturday. “Proper production of Vitamin D is critical for everyone, but especially for elite athletes like NFL players who need their bodies to be performing at optimal levels.”

Solius has raised more than $10 million in investment. Hennessey is a veteran entrepreneur who previously sold Seattle mobile software startup Cequint for $112.5 million.

TopSpin, a Detroit-based startup that develops a device to strengthen the neck and reduce concussion risk, won the $50,000 first place prize.

The 4th annual NFL 1st and Future event also featured a NFL Punt Analytics competition. The two winners were Alex Wainger, who proposed removing a rule that keeps kicking team players from going more than a yard past the line of scrimmage before the punt, and Halla Yang, who proposed awarding a 5-yard bonus on a fair catch, requiring single coverage of gunners, and installing helmet sensors to monitor deceleration.

Judges at the event included Dan Quinn, head coach of the Atlanta Falcons; Leigh Ann Curl, president of the NFL Physicians Society; Sarath Degala, vice president at BIP Capital; Victor Gao, chief marketing officer at Arrow Electronics; and others.

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