Gordie Howe, one of NHL’s greatest players, is recovering nicely from a stroke that left the former athlete bed-ridden and unable to speak. The 87-year-old was so downtrodden by his condition that he was ready to resign himself to death.
Howe’s son, Murray, recalled a instant when his father expressed that he was ready to die.
“He was saying, ‘Take me out back and shoot me,’ — He was serious. It wasn’t a joke. I said, ‘Dad, let’s just see if we can help you first.’ “
Howe’s sons took him to Mexico, where he received an experimental stem cell treatment. Though the treatment can not be said to work for all, it had certainly improved his condition.
Howe, a former Detroit Red Wing, four time Stanley Cup Champion, and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, as well as having had two of his sons play in the NHL, is now able to walk and talk again. A noticeable pep in his step had returned while he was at a physical therapy session in Lubbock, Texas.
Nathalie Geddie, one of Howe’s physical therapists, said that though he still had a ways to go with continued weakness on his right side, he was still recovering well.
Geddie said the following about Howe’s recovery.
“He is doing extremely well, very well for his age. To think about how far he’s come since he’s had his stroke, he’s made significant functional gains.”
Before Howe received his treatment in Mexico, he faced a major setback, which doctors originally diagnosed as another stroke following his initial one in October of 2014. Doctors later diagnosed him with dehydration as his condition continued to falter.
Howe had lost 35 pounds following his stroke. As he lay in bed, his health slowly diminishing, his family began making arrangements for his inevitable funeral.
Howe’s family were then notified of a San Diego-based treatment facility that focused on stem cell research. They were told that they would have the chance to go down to Tijuana, Mexico, to begin receiving the experimental treatments. Though he did not remember taking the trip to Mexico last December, Howe certainly benefited from it.
After being injected with stem cells directly into his spinal column and another round of treatment given to him intravenously, Howe was given a new lease on life. He has gone from being stuck in a wheelchair to pushing a shopping cart, according to NHL.com
One of Howe’s sons, Marty Howe, also a former professional hockey player, told the Associated Press how the treatments and Howe’s recovery have positively affected their family.
“It was life changing for him and for us.”
[Photo by David Stobbe/Flickr]