Very rarely do we see science correlating with rugby league, but in this particular case, we have – with Sharks forward Anthony Tupou undergoing a cutting edge stem cell operation, described as a ‘miracle’.
Although stem cell research is something that still has a long way to go, the potential is there for it to transform player’s careers, with Tupou one of the first NRL players, to undergo the experimental stem cell procedure – called Regeneus HiQ cell procedure.
He had the procedure done in October, and the 28-year old Tupou says that he has never felt better in his life, in regards to his fitness.
With Tupou off-contract at the end of the year, this breakthrough in science has all but resurrected his career, and given him the chance to prove his worth to the Sharks – after Tupou’s injury at times, prevented him from running and playing, due to severe swelling.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said: “He was headed for retirement. There were weeks when he couldn’t train at all.
“To be fair he was far from his best. Last year he limped around. He didn’t enjoy playing footy because all he could think about was his knee.
“I’ve never seen him look better (now). He’s stronger, more powerful than ever and he’s trimmed down a bit.”
David Giveny, the Sharks doctor, was amazed at the success of the radical procedure, and believes that within just 5 years, it can become a staple procedure in the NRL.
Although Tupou is not yet back to his top fitness levels, he believes that the procedure has worked well for him.
“I don’t feel it at all,” Tupou said. “I’m ready to go. I feel a lot better.”