July 10, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

World Cup Star Turns to Mystery Stem Cell Treatment

Angel Di Maria, stem cell sports medicine
World Cup star Angel Di Maria gets experimental stem cell sports medicine injection.

Stem cells just splashed onto the stage at the World Cup in Brazil as injured Argentine soccer star Angel Di Maria got a sketchy stem cell treatment.

He will not be able to play in the World Cup semifinal game this week, but apparently he is taking every possible measure to hope to be able to play should his team make the final. I can of course understand that and Di Maria is a fantastic player.

Unfortunately, however, reportedly these efforts include a mysterious stem cell treatment.

There isn’t a whole lot known about this stem cell intervention for Di Maria, but most likely it is an autologous (self) transplant of adipose stem cells or platelet rich plasma (PRP).

Apparently Spanish player Diego Costa got the same treatment ahead of the Champions League Final.

This is the description:

“The medical procedure is used to regenerate damaged cells using the patient’s own healthy cells, with the primary object being to reduce inflammation and repair the torn muscle tissue.”

Another article mentioning Di Maria’s treatment says in its title that he’s waiting for a miracle.

I’m not convinced that such stem cell interventions have much chance to make a positive difference and use of the world “miracle” always raises red flags. There are risks to these procedures too.

A broad downside is that when superstars get such dubious stem cell therapies, they encourage many others including potentially childhood athletes facing injuries to consider doing likewise.

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