Late in 2014 the hockey world was nervously waiting for sad news about Gordie Howe's imminent demise. The 86 year old legendary hockey great had suffered a serious stroke and seemed to be on death's door.
Weeks later, Howe seems to have made a spectacular recovery, thanks to clinical trial stem cell procedure donated by medical companies Novastem and Stemedica.
The Howe family released a press statement concerning the procedure and it's effects. Here are the highlights:
After reviewing the information on Stemedica and Novastem, our family decided to give our father this opportunity. On December 8, Mr. Hockey underwent a two-day, non-surgical treatment at Novastem's medical facility. The treatment included neural stem cells injected into the spinal canal on Day 1 and mesenchymal stem cells by intravenous infusion on Day 2. His response was truly miraculous. At the end of Day 1 he was walking with minimal effort for the first time since his stroke. By Day 2 he was conversing comfortably with family and staff at the clinic.
On the third day, he walked to his seat on the plane under his own power. By Day 5 he was walking unaided and taking part in helping out with daily household chores. When tested, his ability to name items has gone from less than 25 percent before the procedure to 85 percent today. His physical therapists have been astonished. Although his short-term memory, strength, endurance and coordination have plenty of room for improvement, we are hopeful that he will continue to improve in the months to come.
As a family, we are thrilled that Dad's quality of life has greatly improved, and his progress has exceeded our greatest expectations."
This is a fantastic story, not only for Gordie Howe and his family, but all of us. The medical advancements that are being made these days are nothing short of amazing. It gives us all great hope.
There has been some talk that Howe, along with Wayne Gretzky, will make a public appearance in Saskatoon in the coming days. Howe, who suffers from dementia, may not be the same ol' Mr. Hockey we all know and love, but it is great to hear that he is doing so much better.