Doctors in Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Chicago is treating Matt Olson, a 20 year old ice hockey player suffering from spinal cord injury with stem cell therapy in hopes of him being able to recover some form of movement for his arms and legs. Spinal Cord Injury happens when pressure is applied to the spinal cord, and/or the blood and oxygen supply to the cord is cut off. The spinal cord is encased and protected by the spinal column. It is made up of millions of nerve cells that carry signals to and from the brain and into other parts of the body. Spinal Cord injury usually causes extensive paralysis, which causes further psychological, social and economic burdens to the sufferers and family.
On 21st February 2016, during the last game of the season, Matt Olson slipped and fell headfirst into the boards at high impact, as paramedics attended to him, they realized that he can’t move his arms and legs and immediately suspected the worse. At the hospital, doctors performed surgery to straighten the spine and initially thought that the spinal cord have been severed however, further analysis shows that it was severely pinched. They have also began stem cell therapy treatment on Matt Olson using adult stem cells extracted from donors within the ice hockey community.
Stem Cell treatment from spinal cord injury is still in an experimental and research stage and as such the doctors are not able to provide an accurate prognosis, relying on day to day developments to monitor the treatment and it’s effects. However doctors are hopeful that there would be improvements.