RENTON That mysterious “process” linebacker K.J. Wright went away from the team for last week to treat an aching knee?
It’s a German therapy. It’s not approved for use in the United States. And it is so popular with celebrity athletes and higher beings with the means to get it that Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, Fred Couples -- even Pope John Paul II -- have done it.
And now so has Wright.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said following Thursday’s walk-through practice before Friday’s preseason game against Kansas City Wright will play that the process is regenokine.
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A German physician, Peter Wehling, invented in the 1980s a process using one’s own blood -- specifically the body's own anti-inflammatory proteins and human-growth elements -- to end or ease pain and chronic injuries. It’s an anti-inflammatory process, drawing one’s own blood and heating it, then injecting that changed blood into the pained joint.
Doctors Wehling and Jens Hartmann run a clinic in Dusseldorf, Germany, that is viewed as the foremost place to do the therapy. It’s called orthokine there. But it’s also done in the U.S. and is known as regenokine here, though it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in this country.
Seahawks players were not available to the media Thursday, as they aren’t on days before any games.
Carroll said linebacker and special-teams ace D.J. Alexander is a week behind Wright in getting the same regenokine therapy. So you can almost ink Alexander into the 53-man roster to start Seattle’s regular season. Why else would the team be endorsing Alexander (2017 salary: $615,000) getting the far-flung treatment?
The process reportedly costs $10,000. That doesn’t count the travel and hotel costs of flying to get the therapy, of course. The FDA has yet to approve regenokine, largely because it’s still unproven and reportedly because the agency has issues with the heating of the blood.
That is probably why Wright said with a laugh this week upon his return to practice: “Aw, we can’t talk about my knee.”
And it’s probably why Carroll said this on Thursday: “OK, I’ve never had the OK that I can talk about it; I don’t even know if I can talk about it. I was always afraid I wouldn’t pronounce it right. But what I know it’s called is regenokine.
“OK? That’s the process they went through. You guys can look it up.”
According to multiple medical accounts, including this one, the process creates a“fever” for the blood, triggering and accelerating inflammation, the body’s healing mechanism. The heating is how this process differs from platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, the blood spinning in a centrifuge that former Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice had in Switzerland during his mysterious training-camp disappearance in the summer of 2013.
In orthokine/regenokine, the heated blood is also spun in a centrifuge, separating the blood into its constituent parts. That includes a serum of concentrated cytokines that fight inflammation and proteins that block pain. Studies show about 75 percent of patients have pain relief, and that relief lasts two to four years.
After being injected back into the patient, the serum brings immediate pain relief to most patients. In others it can take several weeks. The feel good effects are effective in about 75 percent of patients and typically last two to four years.
“The knee is good. I’m 100 percent,” Wright said. “You can see I’m running around. How did I look out there?”
Not sure. It’s tough to see all the way to Germany.
But Friday night, we will all get to see for ourselves how well the “process” that worked for Kobe Bryant and the Pope is working so far for the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl outside linebacker.