Scottish soccer player Rory McKenzie recently underwent the same state-of-the-art PRP treatment that tennis star Rafa Nadal used to cure his knee tendonitis — and, like Nadal, McKenzie is back in full training.
The 21-year-old McKenzie recovered from a two-month break using the same therapy which he previously used to recover from a similar medical problem back in 2012.
In PRP therapy like McKenzie underwent, blood is taken from the system, spun in a centrifuge, sometimes with chemicals like calcium chloride and thrombin, and then subsequently re-injected into the affected area.
“I was trying to play through” the injury, McKenzie told reporters, but eventually “it got to the stage” where he simply couldn’t do it. Some mornings he woke up unable to get out of bed or even move.
Eventually he went to a clinic and had the PRP procedure done, after first trying more conservative therapies which failed to produce results. “The surgeon who gave the [PRP treatment] to me said all the top [soccer] clubs are using it now,” McKenzie noted.
Originally McKenzie had feared that his injury was the result of playing on the artificial turf at his home stadium, which would mean he would likely experience the same problems again and again. Yet he’s observed plenty of players on other teams — who play on natural grass — experience similar issues, so McKenzie feels it was “just bad luck” that he got hurt.
McKenzie Far From The First To Benefit From PRP Therapy
McKenzie isn’t the first athlete to benefit from PRP treatment by any means.
Tiger Woods, New York Giants’ defensive tackle Chris Canty, and Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee (among many others) have used it to treat sore knees, hamstrings, and abdomens respectively.
Tiger Woods received not one but four separate PRP injections in his left knee before he played in all four of 2009’s professional golf majors, this following surgery.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Takashi Saito may have been able to return for 2008’s Major League Baseball playoffs thanks to PRP injections to his elbow.
The theory is that by centrifuging a person’s blood to the point where it contains a concentrated blend of growth factors and plasma cells, then re-injecting it into injured tissue, the mixture will speed healing and improve tissue health. According to some doctors, PRP treatment may enable delivery of healing or growth factors to areas where the body has difficulty supplying them on its own — such as regions like the Achilles tendon.
Lab studies have shown that when scientists used surgery to produce lesions in lab animals’ tendons or other tissues, the PRP treatment encouraged the tissues to quickly produce new blood vessels and collagen. Professional athletes’ testimonials from using the therapy have created a great deal of excitement around the therapy, with sports enthusiasts using it to treat a variety of conditions from back pain to tennis elbow.
In fact, PRP therapy was originally used to help speed bone healing and soft tissue recovery following spinal injuries and plastic surgery. It wasn’t until around 2008 that it started seeing wide use for sports injuries, after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward used it right before they won the Super Bowl. As a result, more and more patients started asking about the therapy.