Updating a story we brought you several months ago, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ace starting pitcher Garrett Richards threw off of a mound earlier this week just a few months removed from opting for stem cell therapy instead of the traditional Tommy John surgery to replace a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.
At the time, Richard’s decision was questioned by many in the baseball establishment as risky and unproven, however the news is decidedly more upbeat after Richards threw off of a mound for the first time since injuring his elbow on May 1st.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Amid the rubble of a brutal 2016 season rose a sign of hope for the Angels on Saturday.”
“It came three hours before a 6-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, when Garrett Richards, who four months ago was “dead set” on having elbow ligament-replacement surgery that could have sidelined him for 2017, threw off a mound for the first time since injuring his elbow on May 1.”
“It was only 20 fastballs at 80% effort, but it was a significant step in a process that Richards, who opted for stem-cell therapy instead of Tommy John surgery, is confident will lead to his starting on opening day next season.”
“As of now, throwing off the bump today, doing everything I’ve done to this point, there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be able to pitch next season,” Richards, 28, said. “I don’t feel anything abnormal. Everything feels rested and ready to go.”
Why Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cells are the body’s own repair kit. When you receive an injury, your body’s stem cells rush to the injured area and start the healing process. Sometimes your own stem cells cannot get through to the injured area due to the amount of damage from the injury or surgery.
In these cases, stem cells are then harvested from your own body, concentrating them by placing them in a centrifuge, and then injecting them back into the injured part of the body. It is important not to confuse these types of stem cells with embryonic stem cells.
Modern stem cell therapy techniques harvest stem cells directly from the patient’s own body. This is a quick and safe process that involves the gathering of fat cells — also known as adipose tissue — from a patient, which are loaded with stem cells. Another form of the treatment harvests stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow.
Once the stem cells have been harvested, they are separated by spinning them in a centrifuge. They are then ready to be reintroduced to the patient’s body.
Stem cell therapy is the process of using the harvested cells to help patients’ bodies repair damaged tissue. It can either accelerate an otherwise slow healing process or allow the body to heal tissue that would have otherwise remained damaged permanently.
The medical advancements in stem cell therapy have been remarkable for the advancement of non-invasive medical treatments.
Richards Gamble Appears to Be Paying Off
Richards is not the first MLB pitcher to opt for this surgical alternative. As we reported back in May, Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon had the stem cell treatment in 2010 to repair a torn rotator cuff and an elbow injury.
Richards is however a radically different case than Colon. At the time of Colons treatment, he was considered advanced at age 35 at least by baseball standards. It was a what do you have to lose scenario.
Richards is an “in his prime” ace pitcher with a significant amount to lose in terms of time and money. According to the Times, Richards was hopeful that stem cell therapy can be a long term solution and provide alternatives and hope for others.
“I hope this paves the way for other guys going through the same thing,” said Richards, whose teammates applauded him, jokingly, as he walked to the dugout Saturday. “It’s probably the best decision I’ve made in my career so far.”
Good News for Pain Sufferers
The good news for pain sufferers is that stem cell treatment is becoming more available as an alternative treatment to surgery for a wide variety of injuries and ailments. It is quickly becoming the future of how injuries are treated, providing an alternative to invasive surgeries.
For individuals suffering from any of the following injuries: sports injuries, back, rotator cuff, hip, arthritis, shoulder or are considering hip replacement or knee replacement surgery, stem cell therapy may provide you with the relief that you are looking for.
Speak with a specialist to determine if stem cell therapy may help you lead a pain free life.
As with any form of medical treatment, you should consult with your physician before embarking on any treatment plan. The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be deemed accurate for the purposes of diagnosing your particular medical condition