Hockey legend Gordie Howe's star power is raising awareness in the United States and Canada about advances in stem-cell therapies as he continues what is being called a "miraculous" recovery from a massive stroke.
Those closest to him, including his son, Toledo radiologist Dr. Murray Howe, are convinced the former Detroit Red Wings player would have died if he had not traveled to a medical clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, for an experimental stem-cell treatment not yet available in the United States.
After a debilitating stroke on Oct. 26, Mr. Howe, 86, had a few weeks of slight recovery, but then his health "went downhill" quickly, said Dr. Howe, director of sports medicine imaging for ProMedica Toledo Hospital. The family had started preparing for his funeral. But that all turned around after he had the adult stem-cell treatment on Dec. 8.
"If you saw him now, you wouldn't know he had a stroke," Dr. Howe said.