DETROIT -- Gordie Howe's family says the hockey great has made a dramatic improvement after he participated in a stem cell clinical trial.
The 86-year-old Howe had a serious stroke in late October, but in a statement released through the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, his family said his physical therapists have been "astonished" by his progress.
Executives from Stemedica Cell Technologies contacted the family and facilitated Howe's participation in the clinical trial. He had a two-day, non-surgical treatment earlier this month.
"The treatment included neural stem cells injected into the spinal canal on Day 1 and mesenchymal stem cells by intravenous infusion on Day 2," the family said. "His response was truly miraculous. At the end of Day 1 he was walking with minimal effort for the first time since his stroke. By Day 2 he was conversing comfortably with family and staff at the clinic."
The family says Howe has been able to help out with daily household chores, and when tested, his ability to name items has gone from less than 25 percent before the treatment to 85 percent.
"Although his short-term memory, strength, endurance and coordination have plenty of room for improvement, we are hopeful that he will continue to improve in the months to come," the family said. "As a family, we are thrilled that dad's quality of life has greatly improved, and his progress has exceeded our greatest expectations."