Sep 7, 2017
Give it a Shot

Six members of the Seattle Seahawks have tried the latest in sports medicine. Regenokine, a new biologic medicine, has some similarities with other treatments that use the body’s resources to garner healing.

The Regenokine process involves drawing blood from the athlete, warming it to a “fever” state, and then separating it with a centrifuge. According to SingularityHub, warming the blood incites inflammation.

From the centrifuge, the red blood cells go to the tube’s bottom while a yellow serum rises to the top. This serum holds concentrated cytokines that fight inflammation, along with proteins to help block pain. Upon injection into an affected area, many patients feel immediate relief that can last for years.

“[Regenokine is] what we call a relentless pursuit of a competitive edge,” Kris Richard, Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator, told The Seattle Times. “There it is, man. It’s part of the program. Guys are trying to find the cutting edge in technology and essentially whatever it is going to take under the letter of the law in order to keep yourself as fresh as possible so you can play and be productive as possible. It’s legit. It helps guys. It makes them feel better. So, yeah, go ahead and get that and let’s ball.”

For the Seahawks, the results have been positive. The players who have received the treatment are typically out for a week before returning feeling better than ever.

“Our guys that have gone through it have been really positive about it, brought back really good reinforcement thoughts, and we’re kind of banking on that,” Pete Carroll, Seahawks Head Coach, said in a news release.

Despite players’ positive reports, the jury is still out on Regenokine within the medical community. Some physicians speak to its natural healing potential.

“I believe we should be moving toward regenerative medicine,” Adam Pourcho, DO, Head Team Physician for the Seattle Storm and a Sports Medicine Doctor with the Swedish Medical Center, told The Seattle Times. “If you harness the body’s natural healing cells and inject them back into you, the concept makes sense. There’s still some fine-tuning to be done.”

On the other hand, critics suggest that Regenokine only treats pain without fixing the bigger problem.

“It’s kind of like PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma),” Will Carroll, author of The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball’s Drug Problems, told The Seattle Times. “No one is sure it does anything good, but we’re pretty sure it doesn’t do anything bad. Anecdotal evidence is that the results are doing pretty well. Is it a cure-all? Obviously not. It’s more or less a time saver.”

Another criticism is Regenokine’s high costs. One treatment can cost up to $10,000, and it is typically not covered by insurance. But for the Seahawks’ players, the expense appears to be worth it.

“It seems safe, but until we see enough of it used long term, we do not always know the risks and unintended consequences,” Brett Daniel, MD, a Family Physician and Medical Director of the Best Practice Team at Swedish Medical Center, told The Seattle Times. “Athletes are on a short timeline with big money on the line, so they will push the envelope hoping it helps, no matter the cost or small chance of unknown risks.”

Image by Mike Morris

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