Gordie Howe back stick-handling after stem-cell treatment

The Detroit News

Six weeks after his family was preparing for the worst, hockey great Gordie Howe is stick-handling past grandchildren and burying it five hole, according to a Windsor Star report.

Howe's phenomenal recovery from a debilitating stroke, continues after receiving stem-cell treatments in Mexico last month.

Howe, 86, is staying with his daughter Cathy in Lubbock, Texas. He's gained 20 pounds, walking up to half mile, conversing and showing his trademark sense of humor, family members said.

"I kicked around a soccer ball with him," son Murray Howe told the Windsor Star. "He's playing driveway hockey with his grandsons. He's faking out his great-grandson and then shooting the puck through the five hole. You really couldn't even tell he had a stroke at this point."

The NHL Hall of Famer's condition was rapidly deteriorating when the Howe family was contacted by San Diego-based Stemedica Cell Technologies in early December.

Stemedica's Dr. Maynard Howe, who's no relation but a hockey fan, contacted the family about the potential of stem-cell treatment.

Howe was taken to Mexico where he received an injection into the spine. The transformation was noticeable after only eight hours, said Murray, who is a radiologist.

A nurse asked him he needed to go to the bathroom and Howe said yes.

"He was already using more words and that alone was amazing to me and then he said, 'No, I'll go to the bathroom,'" Murray told the Star. "I said, 'Dad, you can't walk,' and he said, 'The hell I can't,' and he sits up."

Howe underwent an IV infusion of stem cells before being released from the hospital. The family returned to a San Diego hotel, where Howe made the beds.

"I said, 'Dad, we're in a hotel. The maids will make them,'" Murray said. "And he's like, 'No, I'll give them a break,' because he likes to make beds."