Which Pro Athletes Have Received Stem Cell Therapy?

Updated on July 12, 2019

Given its promise for treating sports-related injuries, several professional athletes have begun undertaking stem cell interventions in the hopes of recovering safely and quickly so that they can return to their sports. These athletes have sought help for injuries to things like muscles, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage located often in the knees, legs, and feet but also in other areas like the arms and neck. 

Stem Cell Treatments in Football Players

The sport that has likely produced the most athletes who have sought stem cell treatments in football, perhaps because of the high risk of injury that football poses. Players from the National Football League (NFL) who have received stem cell treatments include: 

Prince Amukamara of the New York Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw of the New York Giants
Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs
Adrian Clayborn of the Atlanta Falcons
Aaron Curry of the Oakland Raiders
Jarvis Green of the Denver Broncos
Chris Johnson of the New York Jets
LaRon Landry of the Washington Redskins
Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens
Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts
Marquis Maze of the Pittsburgh Steelers
Rolando McClain of the Oakland Raiders
Knowshon Moreno of the Denver Broncos
Uche Nwaneri of the Jacksonville Jaguars
Terrell Owens of the Cincinnati Bengals
Sidney Rice of the Seattle Seahawks
Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Stem Cell Treatments in Baseball Players

Baseball players have also been known to turn to stem cell treatments. Here are some of the Major League Baseball (MLB) players who have undergone stem cell interventions:

Bartolo Colon of the New York Yankees
Jose Contreras of the Philadelphia Phillies
Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers
Andrew Heaney of the Los Angeles Angels
Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies
Daisuke Matzuaka of the Boston Red Sox
Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees

Stem Cell Treatments in Other Athletes

Football and baseball are certainly not the only sports where athletes face injury or where the athletes are eager to make a full and fast recovery. Professional athletes from other sports who have gotten stem cell therapy include: 

Basketball player Pau Gasol of the San Antonio Spurs
Golfer Jack Nicklaus
Nascar driver A.J. Foyt 
Rugby player Israel Dagg
Soccer player Christiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid
Swimmer Dara Torres 
Tennis player Rafael Nadal 

While stem cells have the potential to effectively treat athletes’ injuries, not all stem cell treatments are created equal, nor are all centers that perform the relevant procedures. As such, the athletes that have undergone stem cell treatments have had variable success recovering from their injuries. 

Despite the potentially broader access that professional athletes and celebrities may have to medical care, these individuals are often not well-equipped to evaluate the skill level of those performing stem cell procedures or the data – or lack thereof – that these professionals incorporate into their practice. It is therefore important that we continue to educate the public about the realities of stem cell therapy and provide guidance for how to best benefit from innovative approaches to regenerative medicine. 

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