How Professional Football Players (and You!) can Benefit from Stem Cell Therapy

With the most recent Super Bowl and Tom Brady’s unfortunate six Super Bowl rings fresh in our mind, we thought we’d examine how professional athletes have overcome and/or managed immense pain without turning to surgery, much like our clients do here at Restore PDX, and why more injuries should be treated with stem cell therapy rather than an automatic commitment to surgery.

footplayers can turn to stem cell therapy to recover from injuries

Many of the National Football League injuries that make the headlines – Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery playing through a torn rotator cuff in every game of his 2017-2018 season, including the 2018 Super Bowl, top rookie Derrius Guice tearing his ACL before his inaugural season with the Washington Redskins even started and Joe Flacco’s infamous herniated disc that has continually thrown wrenches into the Baltimore Ravens’ plans, just to name a few – RestorePDX treats. Football players and other athletes with ACL tears, disc herniations, hamstring strains and many other serious injuries can be treated with stem-cell therapy. Here’s how:

  • Over the past five years, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, there have been an average of 23 ACL tears before the regular NFL season stars. How can stem cell therapy assist? When injected into the sheath of a partially or even fully torn ACL, stem cell treatment can allow for new ligament fibers to grow and reintegrate into the current fibers of the ligament.

  • Disc herniations, which ultimately dismantled Tony Romo’s iconic career, can sometimes be treated by injecting stem cells into the disc. Injecting into the disc itself can cause the herniation to retract and relieve pressure on nerves.

  • Hamstring strains (once called an epidemic in NFL athletes as they can potentially occur any time an athlete accelerates, decelerates or changes direction) are often difficult to treat, especially when the problem progresses to chronic pain. Stem cells can heal the weakened tissue at the origin and strengthen the muscle fibers of the hamstring.

Rather than immediately choosing surgery following an injury, NFL players have increasingly begun turning toward and sharing their experiences with non-surgical procedures. Linebacker James Harrison is now famous for his 400-needle acupuncture sessions, Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn bought a $24,000 hyperbaric chamber, 15-20 Falcons player all chip in to pay for a chiropractor to travel with them to games and these are just a few testimonials of players utilizing these types of procedures. Needless to say, there are non-surgical alternatives for many professional athletes, including stem cell therapy.

Professional and high-level athletes are always under some sort a time constraint with the next big game or the start of the season just around the corner, so they are often looking for treatments that will give them a good outcome in a short amount of time. Stem cell therapy can provide pain relief and repair the body to lessen or eliminate future pain with a much shorter recovery time than surgery.

Minimally invasive procedures see patients leaving our clinic the same day, rather than requiring a long hospital stay and sometimes dangerous and addictive prescription painkillers. Stem cells have the ability to heal the pathology, the root of the problem, while surgery may just be a temporary fix. For example, microdiscectomy spine surgery of a lumbar disc can help relieve low back and nerve pain by removing the part of the disc pushing on the nerve. However, it does nothing to address the degenerative condition of the disc itself, and oftentimes the patient will be back for a repeat procedure within a few years because the disc has reherniated. Additionally, surgery can even create additional long-term issues, such as arthritis or damage to cartilage and bone.

We see athletes from a variety of competitive levels, but what they all have in common is they all want to be able to compete at the highest level possible to the best of their ability. When they come to RestorePDX, they’re putting their trust into our clinic, which is practicing at the highest standard when it comes to regenerative medicine treatments.

In addition to your own cells, we have an immense experience in placental-based treatments like Amniofix. Growth factors derived from placental tissue has been shown to be tremendously effective in treatment of wound and is showing promise in joints, tendons and ligaments. It is an FDA-cleared product and has a high level of safety and regulation. We often use this alone or as a adjunct to PRP or stem cells. Dr. Desai recently present our data on this procedure to an international audience of doctors demonstrating a 90-percent success rates for tendinosis.

So, what can patients expect when they visit us for stem cell therapy treatment?

Our board-certified medical doctors use image guidance (ultrasound or fluoroscopy) to inject powerful, healing stem cells that have been processed in a sterile lab with state-of-the-art equipment. Our friendly and welcoming staff, which includes an interventional radiologist, physiatrist and doctor of naturopathic medicine, put all of our patients first, professional athlete status or not. Patients rest assured that we share their similar mindset when it comes to getting them back to doing what they love as fast as possible.

Procedure costs vary depending on the body part that is treated. Peripheral joints range from $4,000-$9,000, while the spine costs $6,000-$13,000. Like all types of healthcare, patient response to stem cell treatment can vary, but for the most part physical downtime is minimal. While recovering from stem cell therapy, athletes can continue to be active, as long as they do it safely and listen to their body, without adversely affecting the healing process.

Whether you are 18 years old or 68 years old, stem cells that come from your body are often potent and powerful enough to produce significant results. This option can help you to return to the game faster than surgery, though we always emphasize that the proper amount of time is still required to let your injury heal. The stem cell therapy field is becoming increasingly popular, and like most forms of technology, the technology is becoming more effective. We hope that over the next five to 10 years this treatment will be the standard, conservative and alternative option to surgical intervention.