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A Journey Back to Life Through Stem Cell Therapy: How NFL Greats Are Finding Relief From Injury, Part 4

By Bob Fox

Quarterback Dan Pastorini played 13 years in the NFL from 1971 through 1983. Most of that career was spent with the Houston Oilers, a team No. 7 played with for nine seasons. In those nine years, Pastorini only missed five games and he played through some very difficult and painful injuries, which included broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Because of his broken ribs, Pastorini became the first player to ever wear the flak jacket for protection.

Pastorini told me the story about how that came about.

“I was in the hospital with three broken ribs,” Pastorini said. “This guy comes into my room with a friend of his carrying a baseball bat and a brown paper bag. I thought they came to pummel me to death.

“The guy pulls out a plate with some padding out of the bag and places it against his ribs. The other guy swings as hard as he could with the bat and hits him in the ribs three times. The guy didn’t even blink. So I said, ‘I want one of those.’

“So the guy said okay and came back three days later with the prototype. I wore it all week in practice and got comfortable with it. I ended up playing the rest of the season with it and also through the playoffs.”

After his NFL career was over, Pastorini ended up having a shoulder replacement and then had two hip replacements, one in 2015 and the other in 2016.

Since the two hip replacements, Pastorini has received stem cell treatment to aid in the healing process.

“I had injections in both hips and also a general infusion with an IV to help my general system,” Pastorini said. “The injections are sort of like a cortisone shot without the damage. It prevents the pain and it does help the healing process by putting healthy cells into your body and in the joints.”

Since Pastorini has had the stem cell therapy, his lifestyle is much improved.

“My lifestyle is better than normal,” Pastorini said. “People kind of look at me sort of strange, as I walk fast up these stairs at this park I go to. There are about 40 stairs and so far I can get up seven or eight steps walking quickly. When I get to 12, I’ll be satisfied, as that’s plenty for a 67 year-old man to do.”

The bottom line is that Pastorini is very thankful for the help he has received with stem cell therapy.

“We appreciate what Kandace [Stolz] and the folks at Premier Stem Cell Institute do,” Pastorini said. “They are so helpful. All of us who have received help from them really appreciate it. And there are a lot of guys like me who still need help. Hopefully a story like you are doing will help reach some of them.”

That is exactly what is happening. The other night, Stolz told me that a number of former NFL players had read my story and had contacted PSCI regarding getting stem cell therapy.

Another former NFL player, Lee Roy Jordan, has also received help from PSCI. Jordan played middle linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys for 14 years from 1963 through 1976.

After his career was over, Jordan certainly had his share of ailments. Eventually, Jordan needed to have two knee replacements and two shoulder replacements.

It looked as though the same thing was about to happen to his right hip when he heard about stem cell treatment.

“The hip was bothering me so much that I couldn’t sleep at night,” Jordan said. “So I ended up having stem cell treatment in my right hip and it worked out wonderfully well for me. It was a great experience for me and I am so excited about the stem cell therapy potential for everyone, especially the former NFL players.”

Jordan also talked about how the orthopedic surgeons will need to incorporate using stem cell treatment as part of their practice.

“I think that probably most of the surgeons are going to utilize the stem cell process,” Jordan said. “That would be the best way to help their patients. I think the stem cell process is the next big thing in medicine and I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”

Mike Golic played nine years in the NFL as a defensive tackle from 1985 through 1993. Golic was part of one of the best defensive lines in NFL history, as played on the same line with Reggie White and Jerome Brown of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Like Pastorini and Jordan, the years that he played in the NFL took a toll on Golic. The former Notre Dame star talked about he first heard about how helpful stem cell therapy could be for him.

“In doing the radio and TV show [Mike & Mike on ESPN], we talk about sports in our lives at times,” Golic said. “And part of that was me talking about all the injuries I had in my career at times.

“Well after that, I remember Don Horn got a hold of me and told me about how stem cell therapy can help with my shoulders and my knees, which is where I had some surgery. He talked to me about Premier Stem Cell Institute and he ended up hooking me up with the people there.

“I met Kandace [Stolz] there and she explained the process to me. She also said that they were doing some trials and tests for hips, knees and shoulders to show the results to the NFLPA and folks like that.

“So I had them do a treatment on a knee that a doctor had told me that in five to eight years would probably need to be replaced. I also had them do treatment on my shoulder, as I had gone through seven operations on my left shoulder and three on my right, plus a couple on my knee.

“Now before the stem cell treatment, I had been going to orthopedic doc probably every three months or so and getting cortisone shots in my knee and in my shoulder to try and mask the pain. So after that, I felt better and would work out for awhile until the pain returned about three months later and the same process would go on.

“So I went to Colorado to get some stem cell therapy on my knee and my shoulder about three years ago, and I have not needed a cortisone shot since then. It’s definitely done well for me. I’ve also just had a second treatment on my knee, plus I was having some neck issues from playing ball, so they gave me treatment in that area as well.

“I have completely bought-in with what they do at PSCI. The bottom line is that you don’t put anything foreign into body, as it’s all your stuff. To me, there is little to no risk getting this type of treatment done. They are unbelievably talented there with the easy process of going in for treatment in the morning and coming out just a few hours later.”

Golic is also excited about what stem cell treatment is doing for people with cognitive issues. A prime example is how stem cell therapy helped Bart Starr after he had two strokes and a heart attack.

“Let’s be honest,” Golic said. “If this can help on the cognitive side of things, it would truly be fantastic. That’s way more important than helping out my knee or helping my shoulder. I mean it’s great that it does.

“But if this can lead to breakthroughs in helping anyone who has had strokes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or whatever, quite honestly, that’s the real win. The fact that it can all of us is great, but helping out in that area is more important than anything.”

I certainly concur, Mike.

It’s truly amazing about how this great process for helping former NFL players through stem cell therapy first got implemented.

It simply came about when Don Horn listened intently to Jerry Kramer, when Kramer was speaking to some of his former teammates about what he had found out regarding stem cell treatment during a reunion four years ago.

Horn heeded Kramer’s words and investigated stem cell therapy on his own when he returned to his home in Colorado. That all led to Horn having a partnership with Premier Stem Cell Institute to help former NFL players.

Once Kandace Stolz became involved in the process, the outreach to former NFL players became more pronounced and effective, with Horn being the primary liaison to the players.

But it was Kramer who went to places like the University of Wisconsin, Harvard, MIT, Cal and Stanford to learn about the stem cell process, before he had ever talked to Horn or his former teammates about stem cells.

Kramer had to be a believer in how stem cell treatment could help people, before he would speak out about this great medical advancement.

Kramer is definitely a believer now.

Stolz told me about a conversation she had with Kramer a couple months back on the phone.

“Jerry is a wonderful resource for stem cell therapy,” Stolz said. “In a conversation that lasted about 45 minutes to an hour, Jerry really impressed me with his knowledge. I wish he could work with me.

“Jerry has gone to places that I have not been able to visit as of yet. Jerry is going into the labs and seeing the extrapolation process. He sees things that I only wish that I could see. He is just an incredible resource to have.”

There is absolutely no doubt about that.

There is also no doubt that stem cell therapy is also a fantastic resource for former NFL players to have as well.

And thanks to Premier Stem Cell Institute, that resource is becoming a reality to the former NFL greats who receive the stem cell treatment that they truly need.

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.