Saturday 16 December 2017

Kilkenny legend Richie Power: 'Stem-cell treatment is my last hurrah'

Power: “It’s not to get back playing. It’s just to get a quality of life with my own knee.
Power: “It’s not to get back playing. It’s just to get a quality of life with my own knee." Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

He may have brought the curtain down on his inter-county career due to a chronic knee injury but Richie Power hasn't given up hope of living a normal life and will visit Croatia in two weeks in the hope that stem-cell treatment can help his cause.

Following extensive research the eight-time All-Ireland winner has opted to take a leaf out of the book of many American Football players and hopes such therapy can help prolong an inevitable knee replacement.

To keep hurling with Carrickshock would be a bonus but doing the simple things in life without pain is what really attracted him to Zagreb clinic (which costs "under €1,000") in what he admits is "a last hurrah" after six operations.

"It's regenerating the cartilage in the left knee. They take some good cartilage from the right knee, bring it into the lab and more or less clone it.

"Then they inject it back into your left knee and you are hoping that the blood will run to it and regenerate there," the 31-year-old former Kilkenny star said.

"It's not to get back playing. It's just to get a quality of life with my own knee. Some days I'd find it hard to go and puck around with Rory (his son) like.

"That makes it very hard. It's for things like that as the years go on. I'm probably looking at a knee replacement by the time I'm 40.

"It is just to try and give me an extra 15-20 years with my own knee and if they can do that then great, it will be well worth it. If not I need to make a decision and maybe end up hanging up the boots altogether. Look, if it has to be done it has to be done.

"I'd like to be in a position where I am completely pain-free. I'd like to maybe run around and not worry about the leg going under me. I went to see everyone. I sat down with the Aussie Rules doctors and teams when they were here and absolutely everyone and anyone that I could. This is the last hurrah. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work."

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