HypeWatch: Soccer and Stem Cells

medpagetoday—July 15, 2014

Argentinian midfielder Angel Di Maria's hamstring injury prevented him from playing in the World Cup final against Germany on Sunday, but his manager said he had been going for stem cell treatments in hopes of accelerating healing and getting in on the action.

Despite the longstanding controversy over stem cell therapies for athletes, sports journalists gave little context on Di Maria's use of stem cells, passing it off as if it were an accepted therapy in sports medicine.

Orthopedists and other experts say there's little evidence that stem cells have any efficacy in sports injuries -- particularly for Di Maria's type of injury.

"There are very little rigorous data to support the use of bone marrow aspirate injections for treatment of tendon injury," Scott Rodeo, MD, a sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, told MedPage Today. "There are isolated case reports, but very little well-done rigorous data."

Rodeo said a major roadblock for stem cell therapy in tendon injury is that the number of true stem cells in a bone marrow aspirate is very small.

Read the full story at medpagetoday.com.

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