How Stem Cells Saved the Soccer Ref’s Game

by Chris Centeno, MD /

Receive a Regenexx® Patient Info Packet by email and learn why it's a superior regenerative solution.

They’re the guys that are sometimes invisible and sometimes the point of sporting ire. The referee is a critical part of sports and arguably some of the most athletic have to be soccer refs, as they can run miles in each game chasing the ball and plays around the field. This morning I’d like to highlight an elite ref from Florida for whom having a knee replacement meant giving it all up. In fact, that’s the common thread through many of our success stories. People who love their active life not wanting to yield to the big surgeries and eventual decline into the couch.

Knee Arthritis Threatens to Take Ref Out of the Game

More than two decades of officiating international soccer games as well as national-level youth soccer had taken its toll on Demetrios’s knee. He’d had four meniscus surgeries and now a diagnosis of advanced arthritis in his left knee. Arthritis on the inside part of Demtrios’s left knee had left him with virtually no cartilage there, and there was no cartilage left underneath his kneecap. After his fourth meniscus surgery, his surgeon recommended a knee replacement.

Meniscus “repair,” as I’ve shared many times, isn’t really a repair but is actually a surgery that cuts out, or excises, the torn portions of the knee meniscus. Besides the fact that studies have shown that meniscus repair doesn’t really work, studies have also shown that meniscus surgery can also advance knee arthritis or lead to an early onset of knee arthritis. Advanced knee arthritis typically leads to recommendations from orthopedic surgeons for knee replacement, and a knee replacement comes with many risks and complications in addition to the fact that it is often unnecessary. Clearly, knee replacement would be detrimental to an active soccer referee’s lifestyle.

Knee Replacement Wasn’t an Option for This Ref

When Demetrios faced the recommendation of a knee replacement for his advanced knee arthritis, he knew what that meant. He would have to leave over two decades of refereeing soccer behind him, the game he loves so much, and stop his highly active running lifestyle. In his words, “A knee replacement was not an option for me because had I gone through with the knee replacement, everything I do as a referee, as well as running, would be the end of that.” The decision to look for alternatives was an easy one for this ref.

A Knee Arthritis Stem Cell Treatment: Demetrios Finds Dr. Leiber

Demetrios found Regenexx network provider Dr. Leiber who determined Demetrios to be a good candidate for a stem cell treatment and PRP injections. After his treatment in 2014, Dr. Leiber put Demetrios on a rehabilitation protocol with physical therapy, and within a short period of time, he was back to refereeing soccer and running. Now, nearly three years after this soccer ref’s knee arthritis stem cell treatment, he’s still calling the game. Watch the video of Demetrios’s experience in his own words above; here is an excerpt showing just how active this ref’s lifestyle is:

“Having had the stem cell therapy almost three years ago, I can still do all the soccer tournaments that translate to anywhere between 24 to 32/34 miles for a weekend as well as during the regular season, which is around 12 to 15 miles on a given Saturday or Sunday.”

The upshot? We love helping active people stay active. Each has their own story about what gets them excited and brings meaning to their life. While we can’t help every patient like Demetrios, our registry data shows that we do help most of them. So here’s to many, many more games, running around the field and making those close calls!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “How Stem Cells Saved the Soccer Ref’s Game

  1. John Hagen

    Will this procedure work for neuropathy in the feet? Someone mentioned it to me. My husband is suffering with pain in both feet. His feet are also numb. He spent a lot of money going to a chiropractor with good results as long as he went for the treatments. Pain came back when he stopped going to chiropractor. The staff did about 6 different kinds of treatments each day that he went (30 days).

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      John,
      It would depend on what’s causing the neuropathy. Has the cause been identified?

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.