Medical science has for years contended that the knee’s anterior cruciate ligament does not heal by simply regenerating. That’s the reason generations of NFL players have had surgery to repair ACL injuries.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill went another direction, not having surgery but rather choosing to rehabilitate the partially torn ligament and follow that with stem cell treatments. On Thursday, when Tannehill spoke publicly for the first time since the end of the 2016 season, he said his ACL was indeed healed.
“Yeah,” Tannehill said when asked specifically if his ACL had healed, “it’s really strong and ready to go.”
Tannehill said he feels good now and that’s obviously the reason he’s fully participating in the Dolphins offseason training activities.
“I feel good. I’m feeling back to 100 percent,” he said. “Everything feels totally normal. I’m going to keep pushing to get better next year.
“It started feeling good probably at the end of January. I was rehabbing it hard every day, a few hours every day. I really got comfortable with my rehab. I kept pushing and pushing and pushing. It finally got to where I felt I’m comfortable with it. I feel like I can make any cut. I trust it. That’s the biggest thing, do you trust it? Are you able to move without thinking about whether something’s going to happen. Once it got to that point I felt great about it.”
Tannehill will wear a knee brace throughout the 2017 season, something he has done previously in the NFL. The brace is meant to improve his stability while not hampering his mobility.
“I am going to be wearing it throughout the season so I’m comfortable and it’s just second-nature at that point,” Tannehill said.
Tannehill said he’s not eager to be hit but neither is he worried about it.
“I never want to be hit,” he said. “But that’s something in a game where it settles you down. First hit of the year, everybody else gets hit in camp so it’s usually that first or second game when I do go to the ground, then everything’s fine. But as far as the knee goes, that plays no factor into the knee. That’s a normal process every year to get that first hit under your belt.”
Tannehill reported he has “no more checkpoints,” he has to hit to continue practicing and playing.
“Everything is good and strong and I shouldn’t have any issues,” he said.
Tannehill discussed the stem cell treatment he underwent which he partially credits for his recovery.
“I did a lot of research and finding options that were available to me and finding what fit,” Tannehill said. “I spent a lot of time researching and talking to people who are familiar with all the different types of treatments. That seemed to be the best fit for the injury that I had.”
“That’s the basic concept. So your blood stream is carrying stem cells to all the injuries you have throughout your body. Your ACL never completely heals because of lack of blood flow and so they’re just artificially becoming the blood stream to carry the stem cells to the location.”