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A Journey Back to Life Through Stem Cell Therapy: How NFL Greats Are Finding Relief From Injury, Part 2
By Bob Fox
Don Horn was a rookie quarterback on the 1967 Green Bay Packers, when he was drafted in the first round out of San Diego State. Horn remembers that day well.
“I was sitting in a little bitty room, which actually was in our public relations office there (San Diego State), and I’m just waiting for a phone call, ” Horn said. “I was listening to the draft on the radio, and a number of teams that said they were going to draft me, drafted someone else. It was getting near the end of the round, and the phone rang when Kansas City was going to make their pick. And a lady got on the phone and said ‘Please hold for Coach Lombardi.’
“And by then I’m thinking that someone is jerking my chain. I mean, I hadn’t heard from Green Bay at all. But back in those days, a lot of teams were in the same consortium of using scouts. Anyway, Coach Lombardi came on the phone, and I still didn’t believe it was really him until I heard his voice.
“And he said, ‘Don, this is Coach Lombardi. Did you sign any agreements with any other leagues?’ I said no. Then he went on, ‘We are considering making you our draft pick. Kansas City is picking right now, and I’ll get right back to you.’ Fifteen or 20 minutes later, he called me back and said, ‘You are now a Green Bay Packer. When can you get back here.’ So that’s how it happened.”
Little did Horn know that he would be part of one of the most legendary teams in NFL history that season.
The ’67 Packers went on to win their third consecutive NFL title, which was something that had never been done before in the modern history of the NFL. Plus, that accomplishment has never been duplicated since then.
The saga of that great Green Bay team in 1967 was masterfully chronicled in a fantastic book called Instant Replay, which was co-authored by the late Dick Schaap and right guard Jerry Kramer of the Packers.
The book offers an insightful view of the man who drafted Horn…Vince Lombardi. The 1967 season was Lombardi’s last year as head coach of the Packers as well.
The Packers finished their wonderful 1967 season by winning Super Bowl II, when the Packers beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14.The victory was the second straight Super Bowl win for the Packers, as they had also defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-14 in Super Bowl I.
It was during an reunion/autograph session a few years ago with a number of the players on the Super Bowl II team, that Horn first heard about stem cell treatment from Kramer.
“When I first found out about this, I had bad knees, bad ankles and my hip and shoulder were bothering me as well,” Horn said. “So I went back to Wisconsin for a reunion about four years ago. 24 guys showed up for it. And over half of those guys had gone through hip, knee, shoulder replacement surgeries.
“Half of those guys were complaining that their situation was no better now than it was before the surgery. Jerry was sort of in the corner listening to the guys complain about their aches and pains. Then he started talking about stem cell treatment, as he recently had his hip injected in Florida.
“Jerry was raving about how great the process was. I was sort of intrigued and listened closely to what Jerry had to say. So I go back to Colorado and talked to some doctors there. They referred me to a clinic north of Denver, which was then called Orthopedic Stem Cell Institute (now Premier Stem Cell Institute). I went up and met with them and observed a procedure where they actually worked on a guy’s spine. I was really impressed.
“To make a long story short, I had them do work on my knees and I’ve had good results. So I’m thinking to myself, that there were a lot of guys I know who had the same issues I had. So since then, I’m kind of the NFL liaison to help promote stem cell treatment.
“We have probably had close to 175 former NFL players who have had a stem cell procedure done, some of whom are in the Hall of Fame. We also recently signed an exclusive deal with the NFL Alumni to be their official stem cell resource.”
Speaking of NFL Alumni and also a player who is also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Horn told me how stem cell treatment helped out Lance Alworth, the former star wide receiver of the San Diego Chargers, who was nicknamed “Bambi” during his playing days.
“Lance came out a couple of years ago,” Horn said. “He was all set to have a knee replaced, but I told him to come out to PSCI to have his knee looked at. The doctors looked at his knees and he was not considered a candidate for stem cell treatment.
“I mean, his knee was worse than mine. But because of who he was and because he made the trip from San Diego, they gave him an injection of stem cells into his knee. Six weeks later Lance calls me and says, ‘Don, I can’t thank you enough. I can walk again and I can golf. I’m 85 percent better and the pain is virtually gone.’
Horn is the key promoter of stem cell therapy to former NFL players and the list of players wanting treatment keeps growing. But the biggest component of why this outreach is working was when Kandace Stolz joined Orthopedic Stem Cell Institute. Shortly thereafter, the clinic was renamed Premier Stem Cell Institute.
“Kandace has such an affinity and a sincere desire to help people, ” Horn said. “”They really want to help former players get better. Kandace saw my value and that helped to open some doors because of my contacts. She saw that I had an ability to communicate well with people, just like Jerry Kramer.
“Kandace put together a marketing and business plan to push this thing further up the ladder. We have added many more former NFL players, and are branching out to other professional sports like the NHL. Plus, we are working with military veterans who we are helping out as well.”
All of this started for Horn four years ago when he heard Kramer talk about stem cell treatment at the autograph session in Wisconsin. The words from Kramer triggered a response from Horn, which led to his alliance with PCSI and his being the liaison to help other former NFL players.
Speaking of Kramer, Horn recounted a conversation that Kramer had with Stolz a few months ago.
“Jerry was very impressed with Kandace’s knowledge and vice-versa,” Horn said. “Kandace said she never talked with anybody who knew more about stem cells than Jerry Kramer does, who wasn’t a professional physician or something.”
Dan Pastorini and Lee Roy Jordan were two of the former NFL players who Horn reached out to let them know how stem cell treatment could help them. Pastorini had one shoulder replaced and both hips replaced, while Jordan had both shoulders replaced and both knees replaced.
In a future part of this article, Pastorini and Jordan will share how great they feel now thanks to receiving stem cell treatment. Another former NFL player, Mike Golic, who is currently one of the stars of the popular Mike & Mike Show on ESPN, will also comment on how well he is doing thanks to stem cell treatment.
The list of former NFL players seeking stem cell treatment help keeps growing, thanks to the efforts of Horn and Stolz.
Horn wants to help former players like himself, because he knows how much pain he was in before he received treatment.
“Bob, seven or eight years ago, I couldn’t walk,” Horn said. “I couldn’t walk 20 or 30 yards. I just could not walk, it hurt so bad with my knees. It got to the point where I was definitely thinking of having knee replacements.
“Then I heard Jerry speak at the Super Bowl II reunion and my lifestyle has completely changed for the better thanks to the stem cell treatment I received.”
Bob Fox is a freelance writer who has his own blog at WordPress. Bob has also written for Packer Report, where he was for several years, as well as writing at sites like Bleacher Report, where he was a Featured Columnist for three and a half years.