November 23, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Tennis Star Nadal to Get Dubious Stem Cell Treatment

Rafael NadalTennis superstar Rafael Nadal, 28, is following in the dubious footsteps of many sports stars turning to questionable stem cell “treatments” to relieve what ails them and potentially extend their careers.

Nadal (pictured at right in image from Wikipedia) will receive what appears to be a laboratory-grown stem cell product from Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro.

ESPN added some important details to this story:

“(Nadal) has a problem typical in tennis with a back joint, he had it at the Australian Open, and we have decided to treat it with stem cells,” Ruiz-Cotorro said.

He said that stem cells were recently extracted from Nadal for a cultivation process to “produce the necessary quantities.”

“When we have them we will put them in the point of pain,” he said, with the goal of “regenerating cartilage, in the midterm, and producing an anti-inflammatory effect.”

Could this work?

It seems to me to be like an extreme long shot, kind of like a no-look between-the-legs, inside-out forehand that you hope will clear the net and land inbounds, but usually it doesn’t.

Update: Nadal apparently got a similar stem cell treatment for his knee last year. it’s hard to know if he thought that was helpful.

I’m not clear on what experience or training that Dr. Ruiz-Cotorro (pictured at right) has specifically in stem cells or transplants, but I’m trying to learn more about it.Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro

Nadal just got his appendix out a week ago and apparently now in the near future will get potentially risky stem cell injections.

One of the concerns about sports stars getting these kinds of stem cell “treatments” is that it will likely encourage amateur athletes, perhaps even children (via their parents) to also get dubious stem cell interventions.

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