Down five points to the defending conference champion, the New England Patriots, with seven seconds to play on Sunday, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed a pass that led to his team scoring a 69-yard, game-winning touchdown – what has been dubbed as the “Miami Miracle.”
But one of the most exciting plays in the history of the National Football League may not have occurred if Mr. Tannehill had not come to the Cayman Islands last year for health-related reasons.
In 2017, the Dolphins quarterback traveled to Grand Cayman and opted for cryopreservation, a process that preserves cells prone to damage by cooling them to sub-zero temperatures and storing them for future use. Local clinic Regenexx Cayman handled the procedure and earlier this year, Mr. Tannehill received the stem-cell treatment “Regenexx-C,” according to the local clinic.
“I have these cells banked in Grand Cayman and I’m able to use those in order to improve my quality of life and be able to enjoy the rest of my life,” Mr. Tannehill said.
According to Regenexx Cayman, stem cell cryopreservation is the next step in proactive healthcare – allowing athletes to save their younger cells for future orthopedic use, when the inevitable aches, pains, and injuries of professional sports set in.
“A lot of athletes will play through their issues – they might have a nagging hamstring or Achilles – but our goal is to treat problems proactively with orthobiologics, including culture-expanded stem cells,” said Regenexx founder Dr. Christopher Centeno. “Unfortunately, you can’t store cultured cells in the U.S., but at Regenexx Cayman, athletes can have their cells extracted, grown to much larger numbers, and cryopreserved at their current biological age.”
Mr. Tannehill, a paid spokesman for Regenexx, is not the first high-profile athlete to have stem cells preserved in Cayman.
In 2015, Cayman Olympic runner Cydonie Mothersill was trying to overcome an injury to her Achilles tendon in her ankle. Doctors from Regenexx took stem cells from Ms. Mothersill’s hip and injected them, along with her own blood cells, into her ankle.
“This procedure gave my life back to me,” Ms. Mothersill said at the time.
She has since retired from competition, but said her injury has recovered enough that she can now run and play with her two daughters.