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Football Players Store Stem Cells to Protect Careers

Reuters, August 28, 2006

News regarding stem cell therapy has taken a new twist as athletes turn to stem cell banking as an insurance policy. According to a report, noteworthy football (soccer) players are preparing for potential career-threatening sports injuries by banking the stem cells from their newborn babies for prospective future treatment. The banking could help the athletes and also help their entire families in the event of injury.

Cartilage and ligament injuries could be treated in the future as players are freezing the cells derived from the umbilical cords of their babies. Even injured organs and tissue could be regenerated because stem cells are the earliest form of cells. Athletes with heart conditions, broken bones, a torn ACL; essentially an entire plethora of injuries and conditions could be remedied using the umbilical cord cells to perform non-controversial stem cell treatments.

"We decided to store our new baby's stem cells for possible future therapeutic reasons, both for our children and possibly for myself,” said an unnamed Premier League player from a north west club.

"As a footballer, if you're prone to injury it can mean the end of your career, so having your stem cells - a repair kit if you like - on hand makes sense,” he added.

Using a commercial stem cell bank, five players have frozen their children’s stem cell to date. One would expect the trend to continue given the high salaries that player command. Just as a surgeon could not perform with ALS, a player could not perform without the proper use of a leg or arm. Stem cell therapy using cells that have a portion of matching DNA is beneficial and reduces the likelihood of an immune response.

To protect their children from future illness, more than 11,000 parents have paid about 1,500 pounds in the past 5 years to store their baby’s stem cells in order to grow tissue if needed.

Thousands of umbilical cord blood stem cell transplants have already been carried out in order to successfully treat children with severe blood conditions and immune disorders.


 

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