Last year Peyton Manning flew to Europe on a private jet, not for tea and crumpets or to see the Louvre, but for an experimental stem-cell treatment on his injured neck.
The procedure, one that isn’t even legal in the United States, allegedly took his own fat cells and used them to try to regrow damaged neck tissue:
“There are many proposed therapies that are being tested in clinical trials, and there are more to come,” Dr. Lawrence Goldstein, director of the stem cell program at the University of California, San Diego, told ABC News. “But in the absence of reliable evidence, it is impossible to know whether the ‘treatment’ will make Manning better or worse or merely financially poorer.”
TheNFL doesn’t have any rules specifically banning illegal procedures that an athlete can have done in foreign locales. Kobe Bryant, the NBA’s aging lion, had similarly cutting-edge treatment on his arthritic knee in Germany. It’s called “Biologic Medicine,”and in addition to Bryant, super-agent Ari Emanueland the late Pope John Paul II were ardent believers.
There are a ton of controversial treatments possible where science collides with loose regulation. Bone marrow injections filled with those miracle-working stem cells can be injected into the body. Blood can be heated up, spun and spun in an incubator, the healing agents isolated and injected. The 34-year-old Bryant felt like a new man after first undergoing the procedure, like Manning’s one not approved by the FDA:
He even recommended the treatment to Alex Rodriguez, which led the baseball star to undergo the same treatment on his knee late last year. Bryant hasn’t commented publicly on the treatment, but A-Rod has described the feelings of his friend.
Bryant “was really adamant about how great the procedure was for him,” Rodriguez told reporters.”I know that he was hurting before, almost even thinking about retirement, that’s how much pain he was under. And then he said after he went to Germany he felt like a 27-year-old again. I was still a little apprehensive about it, and he kept staying on me about it.”
Athletes at the highest levels will do almost anything to maintain that edgeto feel younger, sprier and as explosive as they did in their primes. And with the right money and resources, they are extending their careers further than any of their predecessors would have dared dream. Is it any wonder athletes in mixed martial arts are doing the same?
Frank Mir on TRT
In that sport, some of the UFC’s top aging stars have undergone Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), looking to bring their bodies’ natural level of testosterone back to the levels they enjoyed in their 20s. Top contenders like Dan Henderson (41), Chael Sonnen (35) and Frank Mir (33)have all undergone the procedure. Former middleweight champion Rich Franklin (37)is considering it.
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The UFC's Supposed Testosterone Epidemic: Critics Living in the Past