What Is The Mysterious Stem-Cell Treatment That Saved Bartolo Colon’s Career?

Bartolo Colon New York Yankees

[credit provider=”AP”]

Bartolo Colon missed all of the 2010 season with an elbow injury. At 37 years old, it looked like his career was over.Now, in 2011, he’s become a key part of the Yankees rotation and his fastball is back to the mid-90s.

What happened? His doctor says it’s a new treatment he performed, where Colon’s fat and bone marrow stem sells were injected into his damaged elbow and shoulder to promote healing.

The surgery was preformed in the Dominican Republic last spring, with the help of a Massachusetts company that researches experimental treatments.

Given baseball’s problems with steroids and other drugs, this is raising more uncomfortable questions about what athletes put in their bodies.

The truth that is no one knows exactly what orthopedic surgeon Joseph Purita did to Colon. Purita has been known to use human growth hormone in similar treatments, but says he did not given them to Colon or other athletes.

And Purita wants credit for reviving Colon’s career, but we also don’t even know if the stem cells did anything.

Colon’s agent tells the Times that he thinks the problem in 2008-09 (when the pitcher was struggling) was all in Colon’s head. Two years ago when he was with the White Sox, Colon went “missing” for a whole day before a scheduled start, which led people to question his commitment to baseball.

Maybe all he really needed was that year off to get him motivated again.