Don Horn to be Inducted into the Gridiron Greats Hall of Fame

Don Horn

On Friday June 23, Don Horn will be inducted into the Gridiron Greats Hall of Fame at Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in Las Vegas. The organization honors former players, coaches and contributors for their accomplishments on and off the field.

You may ask, what is Gridiron Greats? Well, here is their mission statement from their website:

The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund’s mission is to assist dire need retired NFL players who were pioneers of the game and who have greatly contributed to the NFL’s status as the most popular sport in America. Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund provides hands-on assistance to help retired players and their families deal with hardships they face after football. The services include medical assistance, transportation costs for medical evaluations and surgeries, housing assistance, financial assistance for utilities, medication, and coordination of services for food, automotive payments, and childcare.

Speaking of the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, this is a description of what is does, which also from their website:

The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund (GGAF) is a non-stock, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization providing financial grants and ‘pro bono’ medical assistance to retired NFL players in dire need. The organization focuses on the humanitarian side of post-football related issues, which include coordination of social services to retired players who are in need due to a variety of reasons including inadequate disability and/or pensions.

The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund’s mission is to assist dire need retired NFL players who were pioneers of the game and who have greatly contributed to the NFL’s status as the most popular sport in America. Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund provides hands-on assistance to help retired players and their families deal with hardships they face after football. The services include medical assistance, transportation costs for medical evaluations and surgeries, housing assistance, financial assistance for utilities, medication, and coordination of services for food, automotive payments, and childcare.

Gridiron Greats was originally founded by legendary right guard Jerry Kramer of the Green Bay Packers back in 2007. It all started when he had a Super Bowl ring stolen. Kramer subsequently had a replica ring produced. Kramer later discovered his original ring was being auctioned online.

The auction company then returned the original Super Bowl ring to Kramer. In return, Kramer gave his replica ring to the auction company where $22,000 was raised. Kramer then founded Gridiron Greats and the $22,000 became the initial capital of the organization.

Currently, the organization is headed by Mike Ditka, the Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end who played with the Chicago Bears, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. Ditka also was head coach of da Bears when they won Super Bowl XX and was 121-95 as a head coach with the Bears and the New Orleans Saints.

Sitting with Ditka on the Board of Directors for Gridiron Greats, is Gale Sayers, Marv Levy, Kyle Turley and Matt Birk.

Besides inducting Horn later this month, Gridiron Greats is also enshrining Matt Birk, Dave Casper, Mike Golic, Dan Marino, Joe Namath, John Niland, Jonathan Ogden, Jim Otto, Andre Reed and Jason Taylor.

Wow. That is quite a class!

Gridiron Greats has been inducting members into their Hall of Fame since 2009. Here are the past inductees for the Gridiron Greats Hall of Fame, going year by year:

2009: “Bullit” Bob Dudley, Charlie Sanders, Ron Kramer, John Panelli, Roger Brown, Wally Triplett, Reggie McKenzie, Darris McCord, John Conti, Rocky Bleier, Albert Wistert, Earl Morrall, Jimmy David, Terry Barr and Jerry Green

2010: Mike Ditka, Joe Schmidt, Lem Barney, Pat Summerall, Lloyd Carr, John Green, Lynn Chandnois, Tom Nowatzke, Walt Kowalczyk, Bob Chappuis, Tom Matte, Lomas Brown, Mike Lucci and Dave Brandon

2011: Alex Karras, Gale Sayers, Dick LeBeau, Herman Moore, Desmond Howard, Anthony Carter, Pat Studstill, Gail Cogdill, Dorne Dibble, George Guerre, Sam Williams, Jon Jansen, Dexter Bussey and Tommy Watkins

2012: Marv Levy, Angelo Mosca, Dan Dierdorf, Bobby Bell, Joe DeLamielleure, Gary Moeller, Al “Bubba” Baker, Kyle Turley, Archie Matsos and Hank Bullough

2013: Man of the Year: Kevin Turner Class Inductees: Joe Greene, Jim Marshall, Chris Spielman, Dean Look, Rick Volk, Grady Alderman, Greg Landry, Roger Zatkoff, George Perles, George Reed and Hugh Campbell

2014 in Michigan: Dan Reeves, Brian Westbrook, Jim Brandstatter, Mike Utley, Matt Dunigan, Maxie Baughan, Doug English, Derrick Mason, Mushim Mohammed and Eddie Murray

2014 in Las Vegas: Men of the Year: Paul Hornung and Mike Lucci Woman of the Year: Sylvia Mackey Courage Award: David Humm Class Inductees: Ricky Watters, Hugh McIlhenny, Jon Arnett, Conrad Dobler, Jim Plunkett and Tom Flores

2015 in Las Vegas: Woman of the Year: Chie Smith Class Inductees: Al Davis, Abner Hayes, Jim McMahon, Bob St. Clair, Dave Wilcox, Fred Biletnikoff, Ray Elgaard, George Kunz, Tom Mack, Raymond Chester, Dick Vermeil and Jim Covert

2016 in Las Vegas: Sylvia Mackey Woman of the Year: Chanda Brigance Class Inductees: Cliff Branch, Billy Kilmer, Daryle Lamonica, Don Maynard, Ed Flanagan, Dan Pastorini, Ron “Jaws” Jaworski, Robert Brazile, Danny McManus, Eddie Meador and Jim Taylor

That is quite a Hall of Fame!

You may notice one name missing. That would be the founder of Gridiron Greats, Jerry Kramer. But don’t worry, Gridiron Greats has reached out to Kramer to induct him, but Kramer’s schedule helping out with the Vince Lombardi Golf Classic has put off his induction up to this point. But trust me, Kramer’s induction will happen.

Now, getting back to Don Horn. The former San Diego State star played eight years in the NFL, with four of those years in Green Bay.

Don Horn with Coach Lombardi in Super Bowl II

It all started when he was drafted by the Packers in 1967. Horn recalled that moment, as he was sitting in the public relation director’s office at San Diego State listening to the draft on the radio.

“So we’re listening to the draft and I hear that the Lions selected Mel Farr with their pick in the first round,” Horn said. “And I’m thinking that those guys [the Lions] didn’t tell the truth about picking me.

“So as we getting near the end of the first round, I’m kind of ticked because all these teams who said they were going to pick me, didn’t. All of a sudden the phone rings and I believe it was Coach Lombardi’s secretary, and she said, ‘Is this Donald Horn?’ And I said yes. She then told me to please hold for Coach Lombardi.

“At first I thought someone was playing a trick on me. Then Lombardi and his distinctive voice gets on the phone. He says, ‘Donald,  this is Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers. The Kansas City Chiefs are picking right now. We are considering making you our next draft choice. Do you have any reservations about playing for the Packers?’ I said no sir.

“Then Coach asked if I had signed any contracts with other leagues like the Canadian Football League. Again, I said no sir. Lombardi then said he would get back to me in about 15 minutes. About 15 minutes later, I get the call and Lombardi says, ‘Don, you are now a Green Bay Packer.’

“I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was 10 feet tall. It was like walking on water!”

Horn had two very memorable games at quarterback for the Packers.

One was the last game of the 1968 season, when the Packers faced da Bears at Wrigley Field.

The Packers were already eliminated from the NFL Central division race and had a 5-7-1 record going into the game. The Bears, on the other hand, were 7-6, and a win would give them the NFL Central title.

Horn did not expect to play in the game.

“I got out of the Army about 10 days before the game,” Horn said. “I missed pretty much the whole season because I was in the service. So I got up there and practiced with the team a little bit with the team the week before.

“I had a reserve meeting that Saturday night in Milwaukee. I got out of the reserve meeting around 11:00 and I drove down to Chicago, and I think we were staying at the Drake Hotel. I went in there about 2:30 in the morning. My roommate was Ron Kostelnik.

“Anyway, get up the next morning and went down to the team breakfast. And Lombardi is there and he was still the general manager of the team and is pulling the strings. He tells me, “I’m thinking of having you suit up today.” Bart had broken ribs, so I was going to be the third-string quarterback. Zeke (Bratkowski) started the game but got hurt and he had to be carried off the field.

“Billy Stevens was the other quarterback. Billy started throwing the ball on the sideline getting ready to go into the game. Just then, I think it was coach Schnelker who said, ‘Horn, get in there.’ The first series I struggled, and it seemed like Dick Butkus and company knew exactly what I was doing. The next series it got better. I remember I called one play, and Boyd Dowler says, ‘You can’t call that play here, it won’t work.’ And I said, “It’s the only play I can remember, ready break.” And I threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Jim Grabowski on the play.”

When the game was over, the Packers had beaten Chicago 28-27. Horn ended up throwing for 187 yards, plus had two touchdown passes without throwing a pick. No. 13’s quarterback rating for that game was a robust 142.4.

Then came the last game of the 1969 season, as the Packers were trying to stay over .500, as their record at the time was 7-6. Horn had been 3-1 that season as a starting quarterback up until this last game of the season versus the St. Louis Cardinals at Lambeau Field.

December 21, 1969 was special in many ways for the Packers. For one, it was Willie Davis Day at Lambeau, as the Packers were honoring No. 87, who announced he was retiring after the season.

Horn made it even more special. The Packers whipped the Cardinals in that game, 45-28. Horn had a fantastic performance, as he threw for 410 yards and also threw five touchdown passes. At the time, Horn was the first quarterback of the Packers to ever throw for more than 400 passing yards.

Horn reflected on that game.

“Bob Schnelker had a great game plan,” Horn said. “And back then, you called your own plays. Everything just worked. I would call the right plays at just the right time. Great game plan by Schnelker. Great execution by the offense. I was on cloud nine. Everything was clicking and we were on all cylinders. Everything fell into place.”

1970 was not a particularly good year for Horn or the Packers, and the team fired head coach Phil Bengtson after the season and hired coach Dan Devine.

Horn had a conversation with Devine about a week before the 1971 NFL draft, telling him he was happy in Green Bay and wanted to get his contract situation resolved and was looking forward to working with the former Missouri head coach. Devine seemed pleased with the discussion and told Horn he would fly him into Green Bay after the draft to get a new contract done.

But on the morning of the draft, Horn received a phone call from Devine. In a very short conversation to the best of Horn’s recollection, Devine said this, “Don, this is coach Devine. I’m just calling you to let you know that I just traded you to the Denver Broncos. Good luck!”

That was the end of Horn’s career in Green Bay.

Horn played two years with the Broncos and then one each with the Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers before retiring from football after the 1974 season.

Looking back, Horn still has strong feelings about his time in Green Bay.

“I wouldn’t trade my time in Green Bay for anything in the world,” Horn said. “I feel very fortunate to be in that great era of the ’60s and to be part of that great team. There were a lot of great characters on that team. Ray Nitschke. Willie Wood. Herb Adderley. Robby (Dave Robinson). Lee Roy Caffey. Bart (Starr). Forrest Gregg. Jerry Kramer. A great bunch of ball players, who also had great character.”

Speaking of Kramer, Horn was at a reunion/autograph session a few years ago with a number of the players on the Super Bowl II team, including Kramer. Horn overheard Kramer talking about stem cell treatment.

“When I first found out about this, I had bad knees, bad ankles and my hip and shoulder were bothering me as well,” Horn said. “So I went back to Wisconsin for a reunion about four years ago. 24 guys showed up for it. And over half of those guys had gone through hip, knee, shoulder replacement surgeries.

“Half of those guys were complaining that their situation was no better now than it was before the surgery. Jerry was sort of in the corner listening to the guys complain about their aches and pains. Then he started talking about stem cell treatment, as he recently had his hip injected in Florida.

“Jerry was raving about how great the process was. I was sort of intrigued and listened closely to what Jerry had to say. So I go back to Colorado and talked to some doctors there. They referred me to a clinic north of Denver, which was then called Orthopedic Stem Cell Institute (now Premier Regenerative Stem Cell and Wellness Centers). I went up and met with them and observed a procedure where they actually worked on a guy’s spine. I was really impressed.

“To make a long story short, I had them do work on my knees and I’ve had good results. So I’m thinking to myself, that there were a lot of guys I know who had the same issues I had. So since then, I’m kind of the NFL liaison to help promote stem cell treatment.

“We have probably had close to 175 former NFL players who have had a stem cell procedure done, some of whom are in the Hall of Fame. We also recently signed an exclusive deal with the NFL Alumni to be their official stem cell resource.”

Horn has also been a liaison for Premier to partner with Gridiron Greats. Horn worked closely with Kandace Stolz, who is the President and CEO of Premier, as they gained this association with Gridiron Greats.

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Mike Ditka with Kandace Stolz

Gridiron Greats and Premier Regenerative Stem Cell and Wellness Centers have partnered now for two years to help lessen the debilitating effects of long-term injuries that NFL players often suffer from.

Premier certainly has a strong advocate for stem cell therapy in Kramer, as Horn talked about earlier in the story. Kramer is also a member of the Premier Regenerative board of advisers.

Through their exclusive partnership, Premier Regenerative has helped many of the former players avoid extensive surgeries and medication that they may not have been able to afford. Many of the Gridiron Great patients credit Premier Regenerative with a significant improvement in their quality of life and pain management.

Gridiron Greats and Premier Regenerative also partner to work towards facilitating comprehensive treatment for military veterans and retired professional sports athletes through the nonprofit, After The Impact Fund. This fund is designed to help these individuals recover from injuries and get stem cell treatment and other mental health and medical services as needed.

Stolz is proud of this relationship.

“Our work with both Gridiron Greats and After the Impact Fund is an integral part of our company culture'” Stolz said. “We thrive on helping people recover and live a pain-free life; we’re proud to work with organizations that have the same vision.”

Horn has played a large role in helping out former NFL players, just like he himself was helped years before. One of my favorite stories involves Lance Alworth, the former star wide receiver of the San Diego Chargers, who was nicknamed “Bambi” during his playing days.

“Lance came out a couple of years ago,” Horn said. “He was all set to have a knee replaced, but I told him to come out to Premier to have his knee looked at. The doctors looked at his knees and he was not considered a candidate for stem cell treatment.

“I mean, his knee was worse than mine. But because of who he was and because he made the trip from San Diego, they gave him an injection of stem cells into his knee. Six weeks later Lance calls me and says, ‘Don, I can’t thank you enough. I can walk again and I can golf. I’m 85 percent better and the pain is virtually gone.’

Horn is the key promoter of stem cell therapy to former NFL players and the list of players wanting treatment keeps growing. His efforts were aided by Stolz when she came aboard Premier.

“Kandace has such an affinity and a sincere desire to help people, ” Horn said. “”They really want to help former players get better. Kandace saw my value and that helped to open some doors because of my contacts. She saw that I had an ability to communicate well with people, just like Jerry Kramer.

“Kandace put together a marketing and business plan to push this thing further up the ladder. We have added many more former NFL players, and are branching out to other professional sports like the NHL. Plus, we are working with military veterans who we are helping out as well.”

That networking led to a relationship with Gridiron Greats. One can see why Gridiron Greats is inducting Horn.

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Don Horn with Dan Pastorini

Horn was certainly grateful when he heard the news of his induction.

“I’m very proud and honored by the news of this induction,” Horn said. I’m very humbled about this as well. Especially knowing some of the names who have previously been inducted. I’m just thrilled. I’m kind of blown away with this honor.

“I just want to continue to help out my brothers, just like the previous inductees have. It’s just so humbling to be mentioned with all the great previous inductees.

“When I get out there and give my acceptance speech, I definitely want to point out Jerry Kramer. It was all his brainstorm that got this whole thing started. I’m proud to be not only a teammate of his, but also proud to be a friend of his.”

A Journey Back to Life Through Stem Cell Therapy: How NFL Greats Are Finding Relief From Injury, Part 4

Dan Pastorini

Dan Pastorini

Quarterback Dan Pastorini played 13 years in the NFL from 1971 through 1983. Most of that career was spent with the Houston Oilers, a team No. 7 played with for nine seasons. In those nine years, Pastorini only missed five games and he played through some very difficult and painful injuries, which included broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Because of his broken ribs, Pastorini became the first player to ever wear the flak jacket for protection.

Pastorini told me the story about how that came about.

“I was in the hospital with three broken ribs,” Pastorini said. “This guy comes into my room with a friend of his carrying a baseball bat and a brown paper bag. I thought they came to pummel me to death.

“The guy pulls out a plate with some padding out of the bag and places it against his ribs. The other guy swings as hard as he could with the bat and hits him in the ribs three times. The guy didn’t even blink. So I said, ‘I want one of those.’

“So the guy said okay and came back three days later with the prototype. I wore it all week in practice and got comfortable with it. I ended up playing the rest of the season with it and also through the playoffs.”

After his NFL career was over, Pastorini ended up having a shoulder replacement and then had two hip replacements, one in 2015 and the other in 2016.

Since the two hip replacements, Pastorini has received stem cell treatment to aid in the healing process.

“I had injections in both hips and also a general infusion with an IV to help my general system,” Pastorini said. “The injections are sort of like a cortisone shot without the damage. It prevents the pain and it does help the healing process by putting healthy cells into your body and in the joints.”

Since Pastorini has had the stem cell therapy, his lifestyle is much improved.

“My lifestyle is better than normal,” Pastorini said. “People kind of look at me sort of strange, as I walk fast up these stairs at this park I go to. There are about 40 stairs and so far I can get up seven or eight steps walking quickly. When I get to 12, I’ll be satisfied, as that’s plenty for a 67 year-old man to do.”

The bottom line is that Pastorini is very thankful for the help he has received with stem cell therapy.

“We appreciate what Kandace [Stolz] and the folks at Premier Stem Cell Institute do,” Pastorini said. “They are so helpful. All of us who have received help from them really appreciate it. And there are a lot of guys like me who still need help. Hopefully a story like you are doing will help reach some of them.”

That is exactly what is happening. The other night, Stolz told me that a number of former NFL players had read my story and had contacted PSCI regarding getting stem cell therapy.

Lee Roy Jordan

Lee Roy Jordan

Another former NFL player, Lee Roy Jordan, has also received help from PSCI. Jordan played middle linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys for 14 years from 1963 through 1976.

After his career was over, Jordan certainly had his share of ailments. Eventually, Jordan needed to have two knee replacements and two shoulder replacements.

It looked as though the same thing was about to happen to his right hip when he heard about stem cell treatment.

“The hip was bothering me so much that I couldn’t sleep at night,” Jordan said. “So I ended up having stem cell treatment in my right hip and it worked out wonderfully well for me. It was a great experience for me and I am so excited about the stem cell therapy potential for everyone, especially the former NFL players.”

Jordan also talked about how the orthopedic surgeons will need to incorporate using stem cell treatment as part of their practice.

“I think that probably most of the surgeons are going to utilize the stem cell process,” Jordan said. “That would be the best way to help their patients. I think the stem cell process is the next big thing in medicine and I’m just so excited to be a part of it.”

Mike Golic played nine years in the NFL as a defensive tackle from 1985 through 1993. Golic was part of one of the best defensive lines in NFL history, as played on the same line with Reggie White and Jerome Brown of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Like Pastorini and Jordan, the years that he played in the NFL took a toll on Golic. The former Notre Dame star talked about he first heard about how helpful stem cell therapy could be for him.

“In doing the radio and TV show [Mike & Mike on ESPN], we talk about sports in our lives at times,” Golic said. “And part of that was me talking about all the injuries I had in my career at times.

“Well after that, I remember Don Horn got a hold of me and told me about how stem cell therapy can help with my shoulders and my knees, which is where I had some surgery. He talked to me about Premier Stem Cell Institute and he ended up hooking me up with the people there.

“I met Kandace [Stolz] there and she explained the process to me. She also said that they were doing some trials and tests for hips, knees and shoulders to show the results to the NFLPA and folks like that.

“So I had them do a treatment on a knee that a doctor had told me that in five to eight years would probably need to be replaced. I also had them do treatment on my shoulder, as I had gone through seven operations on my left shoulder and three on my right, plus a couple on my knee.

Mike Golic

Mike Golic

“Now before the stem cell treatment, I had been going to orthopedic doc probably every three months or so and getting cortisone shots in my knee and in my shoulder to try and mask the pain. So after that, I felt better and would work out for awhile until the pain returned about three months later and the same process would go on.

“So I went to Colorado to get some stem cell therapy on my knee and my shoulder about three years ago, and I have not needed a cortisone shot since then. It’s definitely done well for me. I’ve also just had a second treatment on my knee, plus I was having some neck issues from playing ball, so they gave me treatment in that area as well.

“I have completely bought-in with what they do at PSCI. The bottom line is that you don’t put anything foreign into body, as it’s all your stuff. To  me, there is little to no risk getting this type of treatment done. They are unbelievably talented there with the easy process of going in for treatment in the morning and coming out just a few hours later.”

Golic is also excited about what stem cell treatment is doing for people with cognitive issues. A prime example is how stem cell therapy helped Bart Starr after he had two strokes and a heart attack.

“Let’s be honest,” Golic said. “If this can help on the cognitive side of things, it would truly be fantastic. That’s way more important than helping out my knee or helping my shoulder. I mean it’s great that it does.

“But if this can lead to breakthroughs in helping anyone who has had strokes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s  or whatever, quite honestly, that’s the real win. The fact that it can all of us is great, but helping out in that area is more important than anything.”

I certainly concur, Mike.

It’s truly amazing about how this great process for helping former NFL players through stem cell therapy first got implemented.

It simply came about when Don Horn listened intently to Jerry Kramer, when Kramer was speaking to some of his former teammates about what he had found out regarding stem cell treatment during a reunion four years ago.

Horn heeded Kramer’s words and investigated stem cell therapy on his own when he returned to his home in Colorado. That all led to Horn having a partnership with Premier Stem Cell Institute to help former NFL players.

Once Kandace Stolz became involved in the process, the outreach to former NFL players became more pronounced and effective, with Horn being the primary liaison to the players.

But it was Kramer who went to places like the University of Wisconsin, Harvard, MIT, Cal and Stanford to learn about the stem cell process, before he had ever talked to Horn or his former teammates about stem cells.

Kramer had to be a believer in how stem cell treatment could help people, before he would speak out about this great medical advancement.

Kramer is definitely a believer now.

Don Horn with Coach Lombardi in Super Bowl II

Stolz told me about a conversation she had with Kramer a couple months back on the phone.

“Jerry is a wonderful resource for stem cell therapy,” Stolz said. “In a conversation that lasted about 45 minutes to an hour, Jerry really impressed me with his knowledge. I wish he could work with me.

“Jerry has gone to places that I have not been able to visit as of yet. Jerry is going into the labs and seeing the extrapolation process. He sees things that I only wish that I could see. He is just an incredible resource to have.”

There is  absolutely no doubt about that.

There is also no doubt that stem cell therapy is also a fantastic resource for former NFL players to have as well.

And thanks to Premier Stem Cell Institute, that resource is becoming a reality to the former NFL greats who receive the stem cell treatment that they truly need.

To read Part 1 of this article, go here.

To read Part 2 of this article, go here.

To read Part 3 of this article, go here.

A Journey Back to Life Through Stem Cell Therapy: How NFL Greats Are Finding Relief From Injury, Part 3

 

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Don Horn and Dan Pastorini

Statistics are an important category in the NFL. Some stats stick out more than others. Like when a quarterback throws for over 5,000 yards in a season or when a running back runs for over 2,000 yards in a given year.

In the real world, there is another statistic that leaps out at you. That’s the fact that there are over 800,000 hip or knee replacements every year in the United States.

There are definitely a number of former NFL players who have had those type of replacements over the years, as one might expect. Players like quarterback Dan Pastorini, who has had both hips replaced, not to mention a shoulder as well.

But thanks to Don Horn being a liaison to the former players, along with his corroboration with Kandace Stolz of Premier Stem Cell Institute, former NFL players like Pastorini now have another option.

That would be stem cell therapy.

Stolz believes that orthopedic surgeons can merge their practice with those in the stem cell treatment field.

“I do believe that we will be able to work amicably with one another in the future,” Stolz said. “I’m trying to pull them in to learn this skill set. And try and train them on how to do stem cell injections.

“You have your conservative care on the left side. Things like physical therapy, chiropractor care and pain management. Then in the middle you have cortisone shots. Cortisone shots are for pain reduction, but what the shots also do is strain the lining of all the cartilage and the tissue.

“And then there is the far right side, which is the invasive mode. The total hips, the total knees and the back fusions. We would like to add stem cell therapy right there in the middle, and negate or replace the cortisone shot since it does strain the tissue. Put stem cell therapy and the level of modality in the middle, so people could exhaust this possibility before they went on to the more invasive procedure.”

Stolz first joined Premier in November of 2013 as director of marketing, vice president and stem cell counselor. By July of 2014, Stolz was named president and that promotion has led the growth and expansion of the stem cell institute.

That growth has led to many more former NFL players receiving help, with Horn being the main connection between the players and the institute.

“In terms of the NFL Alumni, Joe Pisarcik and I met in March,” Stolz said. “We met initially at a Super Bowl party that Mike Ditka and Ron Jaworski held. I told Joe how successful we were treating former NFL players.

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Mike Ditka and Kandace Stolz

“I told him about the three studies we had done with the NFL and that we wanted to show him the results. Later, I flew to Philadelphia and I showed Joe all the data we had compiled. We ended up signing an exclusive contract with the NFL Alumni, which provides stem cell treatment to five players per month, if the players are qualified after the vetting process.

“Within the first week of launching that program, 66 former players requested to be part of the program. I’m also actively working with the NFLPA, so they understand what we are doing as well.”

Speaking of the active NFL players, several Denver Broncos were treated before they went on to win Super Bowl 50.

“The treatment gave the players an immunity boost,” Stolz said. “It’s all natural, because it’s from their own cells. It’s a proactive approach.”

Stolz is also reaching out to the NHL and the CFL as well. Stolz is working with former NHL player Kurt Walker to help out the NHL Alumni and an organization that Walker founded called Dignity After Hockey.

“We are excited about the relationships we are building with former NHL players and CFL players, just like we currently have with former NFL players,” Stolz said. “But we are more excited about the outcome it will have for them.”

Besides the stem cell institute in Johnstown, Colorado, Premier also recently opened a new institute in Dallas as well.

Stolz talked about future plans for Premier.

“Our projected site plan is to have 10 facilities nationwide,” Stolz said. “We are working on our third site in St. Louis right now. I do a strong evaluation of the doctor I want and then I build the clinic around the doctor.

“We would also like to open our own lab in Mexico. We would still use the same parameters in terms of FDA regulations. What we are wanting to do there is to extrapolate and expand those cells over a period of time. Other people are doing that, but I want to do it ethically and so the patients actually benefit from it and that it’s not a cash cow.

“That’s not what we are about. We are about the science. Yes, we all have to make living and cash pay is the only option now, but there are clinics in Mexico that are charging $20,000 to $30,000 an injection. That’s just asinine. You don’t need that type of expense. Right now it’s the wild west down there.

“We want to bring a lot more clarity and vision to the ethical outcomes that we have. That’s our goal.”

Since stem cell therapy is only a cash option now, I asked Kandace when will the general public get an opportunity to use this marvelous medical practice by using their health insurance?

“Right now, it’s a fairly expensive price, when you lump in everything our staff does for the patient,” Stolz said. “But if insurance companies take this on, and I do believe that they will, we are probably about three years out from that happening.”

My next question to Kandace was how the stem cell treatment process actually works.

“We take the cells from your iliac crest, where you put your hands on your hip, where your thumb rests on the back side of your hip,” Stolz said. “We draw about 60 cc’s of fluid and then spin them in our Centrifuge to diversify the levels.

“We have three levels. Your platelets, your plasma and your stem cells are right in the middle. The stem cells are held within a buffy coat. There are held in the middle of that, based on our equipment. Then we pool from the center section and that goes right back into the area of injury.”

In Part 1 of this article, I wrote about how stem cell therapy not only helps patients with bone and joint issues, but also with patients with cognitive issues. Which includes patients who have had a stoke.

Stolz commented on how that process would work, when I mentioned a women who had a remarkable recovery after a stroke in a case study which was done at Stanford University School of Medicine.

“In that case, there would be a direct injection into the cranium or into the spinal cord,” Stolz said. “That really helps as it goes into the spinal fluid, which expedites the process within the body.

“Anything dealing with the heart, the cell source that individuals want to use actually comes from your fat, or adipose. When you are doing orthopedic procedures, we use bone marrow. But for that particular lady who have had a stroke, I’m 100 percent certain that she used adipose. It’s just more replicable to the internal pathology.”

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Kandace Stolz (President at Premier), Don Horn, Meghan Baumann (Director at Premier) and Arba Boci (Vice President at Premier)

It’s truly amazing what stem cell therapy can do to enhance the quality of life for individuals. The best part is that through case studies and further research, the level of care keeps getting better and better.

In Part 4 of this article, we will hear from former NFL players like Dan Pastorini, Lee Roy Jordan and Mike Golic, as they comment on how well there are doing physically after being helped by stem cell therapy at Premier Stem Cell Institute.

To read Part 1 of this article, go here.

To read Part 2 of this article, go here.

A Journey Back to Life Through Stem Cell Therapy: How NFL Greats Are Finding Relief From Injury, Part 2

Don Horn with Coach Lombardi in Super Bowl II

Don Horn was a rookie quarterback on the 1967 Green Bay Packers, when he was drafted in the first round out of San Diego State. Horn remembers that day well.

“I was sitting in a little bitty room, which actually was in our public relations office there (San Diego State), and I’m just waiting for a phone call, ” Horn said. “I was listening to the draft on the radio, and a number of teams that said they were going to draft me, drafted someone else. It was getting near the end of the round, and the phone rang when Kansas City was going to make their pick. And a lady got on the phone and said ‘Please hold for Coach Lombardi.’

“And by then I’m thinking that someone is jerking my chain. I mean, I hadn’t heard from Green Bay at all. But back in those days, a lot of teams were in the same consortium of using scouts. Anyway, Coach Lombardi came on the phone, and I still didn’t believe it was really him until I heard his voice.

“And he said, ‘Don, this is Coach Lombardi. Did you sign any agreements with any other leagues?’ I said no. Then he went on, ‘We are considering making you our draft pick. Kansas City is picking right now, and I’ll get right back to you.’ Fifteen or 20 minutes later, he called me back and said, ‘You are now a Green Bay Packer. When can you get back here.’ So that’s how it happened.”

Little did Horn know that he would be part of one of the most legendary teams in NFL history that season.

The ’67 Packers went on to win their third consecutive NFL title, which was something that had never been done before in the modern history of the NFL. Plus, that accomplishment has never been duplicated since then.

The saga of that great Green Bay team in 1967 was masterfully chronicled in a fantastic book called Instant Replay, which was co-authored by the late Dick Schaap and right guard Jerry Kramer of the Packers.

The book offers an insightful view of the man who drafted Horn…Vince Lombardi. The 1967 season was Lombardi’s last year as head coach of the Packers as well.

The Packers finished their wonderful 1967 season by winning Super Bowl II, when the Packers beat the Oakland Raiders 33-14.The victory was the second straight Super Bowl win for the Packers, as they had also defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in Super Bowl I.

It was during an reunion/autograph session a few years ago with a number of the players on the Super Bowl II team, that Horn first heard about stem cell treatment from Kramer.

“When I first found out about this, I had bad knees, bad ankles and my hip and shoulder were bothering me as well,” Horn said. “So I went back to Wisconsin for a reunion about four years ago. 24 guys showed up for it. And over half of those guys had gone through hip, knee, shoulder replacement surgeries.

“Half of those guys were complaining that their situation was no better now than it was before the surgery. Jerry was sort of in the corner listening to the guys complain about their aches and pains. Then he started talking about stem cell treatment, as he recently had his hip injected in Florida.

“Jerry was raving about how great the process was. I was sort of intrigued and listened closely to what Jerry had to say. So I go back to Colorado and talked to some doctors there. They referred me to a clinic north of Denver, which was then called Orthopedic Stem Cell Institute (now Premier Stem Cell Institute). I went up and met with them and observed a procedure where they actually worked on a guy’s spine. I was really impressed.

“To make a long story short, I had them do work on my knees and I’ve had good results. So I’m thinking to myself, that there were a lot of guys I know who had the same issues I had. So since then, I’m kind of the NFL liaison to help promote stem cell treatment.

“We have probably had close to 175 former NFL players who have had a stem cell procedure done, some of whom are in the Hall of Fame. We also recently signed an exclusive deal with the NFL Alumni to be their official stem cell resource.”

Don Horn with Aaron Rodgers

Speaking of NFL Alumni and also a player who is also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Horn told me how stem cell treatment helped out Lance Alworth, the former star wide receiver of the San Diego Chargers, who was nicknamed “Bambi” during his playing days.

“Lance came out a couple of years ago,” Horn said. “He was all set to have a knee replaced, but I told him to come out to PSCI to have his knee looked at. The doctors looked at his knees and he was not considered a candidate for stem cell treatment.

“I mean, his knee was worse than mine. But because of who he was and because he made the trip from San Diego, they gave him an injection of stem cells into his knee. Six weeks later Lance calls me and says, ‘Don, I can’t thank you enough. I can walk again and I can golf. I’m 85 percent better and the pain is virtually gone.’

Horn is the key promoter of stem cell therapy to former NFL players and the list of players wanting treatment keeps growing. But the biggest component of why this outreach is working was when Kandace Stolz joined Orthopedic Stem Cell Institute. Shortly thereafter, the clinic was renamed Premier Stem Cell Institute.

“Kandace has such an affinity and a sincere desire to help people, ” Horn said. “”They really want to help former players get better. Kandace saw my value and that helped to open some doors because of my contacts. She saw that I had an ability to communicate well with people, just like Jerry Kramer.

“Kandace put together a marketing and business plan to push this thing further up the ladder. We have added many more former NFL players, and are branching out to other professional sports like the NHL. Plus, we are working with military veterans who we are helping out as well.”

All of this started for Horn four years ago when he heard Kramer talk about stem cell treatment at the autograph session in Wisconsin. The words from Kramer triggered a response from Horn, which led to his alliance with PCSI and his being the liaison to help other former NFL players.

Speaking of Kramer, Horn recounted a conversation that Kramer had with Stolz a few months ago.

“Jerry was very impressed with Kandace’s knowledge and vice-versa,” Horn said. “Kandace said she never talked with anybody who knew more about stem cells than Jerry Kramer does, who wasn’t a professional physician or something.”

Dan Pastorini and Lee Roy Jordan were two of the former NFL players who Horn reached out to let them know how stem cell treatment could help them. Pastorini had one shoulder replaced and both hips replaced, while Jordan had both shoulders replaced and both knees replaced.

In a future part of this article, Pastorini and Jordan will share how great they feel now thanks to receiving stem cell treatment. Another former NFL player, Mike Golic, who is currently one of the stars of the popular Mike & Mike Show on ESPN, will also comment on how well he is doing thanks to stem cell treatment.

The list of former NFL players seeking stem cell treatment help keeps growing, thanks to the efforts of Horn and Stolz.

Horn wants to help former players like himself, because he knows how much pain he was in before he received treatment.

“Bob, seven or eight years ago, I couldn’t walk,” Horn said. “I couldn’t walk 20 or 30 yards. I just could not walk, it hurt so bad with my knees. It got to the point where I was definitely thinking of having knee replacements.

“Then I heard Jerry speak at the Super Bowl II reunion and my lifestyle has completely changed for the better thanks to the stem cell treatment I received.”

To read Part 1 of this article, go here.

A Journey Back to Life Through Stem Cell Therapy: How NFL Greats Are Finding Relief From Injury, Part 1

Jerry Kramer in 2014

A couple of years ago, in one of my many conversations with former Packers great Jerry Kramer, we were talking about golf. Kramer mentioned that his hip was bothering him and it was difficult playing golf at that time.

I asked Jerry what he was doing to cope with the issue. Kramer said that he took two Aleve tablets each day to ease the pain, but that he might end up having his hip replaced. Another option would be getting stem cell treatment.

That conversation stuck in mind.

Last fall, in another one of our talks, Kramer told me that he just received stem cell treatment on his hip and that the hip felt great. No more Aleve either.

The stem cell treatment for Kramer was the second one he had for the hip. The first one had been done in Florida, while the second one took place in Tijuana, Mexico.

Kramer explained.

“In Florida, I got a couple of injections from Dr. Joseph Purita in Boca Raton,” Kramer said. “Shortly after my treatment, I had a golf tournament and all that twisting, turning and grinding of your joints probably mashed the stem cell effect and it really didn’t help. I think the treatment needs more time and rest to be effective. That’s just my opinion.

“But when I had the injection in October and sat on my ass for about three months afterwards, trying to let everything get established, all went well. Two months later, I was able to stop taking Aleve. And I was taking two Aleve a day, everyday, for about five years. I haven’t taken any since then either.”

It’s important to also understand how the stem cell treatments differ in the United States, as opposed to Mexico.

In the U.S., the FDA only approves stem cell treatments from the person’s very own bone marrow.

In Mexico, you can also have embryonic stem cell treatment or in vitro stem cell treatment.

In embryonic stem cell treatment,  the cells are derived from human embryonic stem cells.

In in vitro stem cell treatment, it involves the human embryos that are discarded every day as medical waste from in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics.

In fact, one of the places Kramer visited while he learned more about stem cell research, Harvard University, a group of researchers are calling for the use of in vitro, as the authors believe they represent an ethically acceptable source of stem cells for research.

Kramer received an in vitro stem cell treatment in Mexico.

About a month after Kramer received his stem cell treatment for his hip, the Green Bay Packers were going to be honoring Brett Favre. The Packers were going to unveil his No. 4 on the stadium facade at legendary Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving night, when the Chicago Bears played the Packers.

The big news for this event was that Bart Starr was going to be there.

Starr, who is 82, was debilitated in September 2014 by two strokes and a heart attack. But after Starr received stem cell treatment (also in Mexico), No. 15 made remarkable progress. Starr was once again able to speak and also to walk, after being confined to a wheelchair due to the effects of the stroke.

That procedure and rehabilitation allowed Starr to travel from Alabama to Wisconsin to honor Favre.

When Starr made his appearance at halftime of the game, it was a very emotional setting, especially knowing what Starr had overcome to just to be in Green Bay.

Kramer talked about that emotion.

“The thing about that setting at Lambeau  on Thanksgiving that made my heart go pitty-pat, was when Bart got out of the cart to say hello to Brett,” Kramer said. “And he said, ‘Hey Mister. How are you doing, Brett?’

“That term Mister, was what Coach Lombardi you to say when he wanted to chew our ass. As in, “Mister, what in the hell are you doing?’ In the last 10 years or so, Bart has adopted that Mister term as a greeting.

“To me, hearing him say that to Brett, told me that not only was his mind working, but his memory was working as well. That really got me pretty emotional.”

Brett and Bart

Speaking of Starr, it appears that his family is definitely considering another stem cell treatment for Bart, perhaps as soon as a week or two, based on the story Pete Dougherty of USA Today Network-Wisconsin put out on Wednesday.

There has been big advancements in helping out people who have had cognitive issues via stem cell treatments. In a study done by Stanford University School of Medicine, it has been determined that people who were disabled by a stroke can be helped.

This was done by injecting modified, human, adult stem cells directly into the brains of chronic stroke patients. That method proved to be not only safe, but effective in restoring motor function, according to the findings of a small clinical trial.

Stem cell treatment for former NFL players like Kramer and Starr have proven to be effective.

There may not be a person in the non-medical world who knows more about the study of stem cell research than Kramer.

No. 64 told me how it all this journey first started for him.

“I was looking at starting a clinic for anti-aging along with my good buddy Art Preston, who is in the oil business,” Kramer said. “We were also joined by Dr. Don Steele, who is a Clinical Neuropsychologist. “That was initially my focus. I didn’t know a lot about this subject, so I decided that we were going to go to five or six universities and their research facilities. To talk to the PHDs and the doctors who were running the facility and see what they thought about aging and also stem cells.

“So we went to the University of Wisconsin and saw saw Dr. James Thomson in his lab. Dr. Thomson was able to take a normal cell  and induce embryonic pluripotency to the cell. Which is setting it back to an embryonic stage. That is pretty phenomenal.

“We spent four hours with him and he told me a wonderful story about how he arrived at that project. He asked me if I ever heard of the human genome project. I said I did. He asked me if I knew how long it took. I said, I wasn’t sure, but was probably eight or nine years.

“Dr. Thomson said, ‘Jerry, it took 13 years. And the cost was $3.1 billion dollars. I now have a machine my basement that can do the same thing in three-and-a-half hours.’

“James took me back and showed me some stem cells on a slide. Then he took me back into another part of the lab and showed me a cage that had little critters scurrying around in it. And James says, “Do you know what those are?’ I told him that they looked like salamanders.

“He said that’s what they were and he asked me what I knew about salamanders. I said that they make good bass bait! And he laughs and says, “What else?’ I told him I didn’t know a lot about them. He told me that a salamander can regenerate an arm, a leg or a tail.

James Thomson

Dr. James Thomson

“Then Dr. Thomson says, ‘We think the the ability of the salamander to regrow an arm, a leg or a tail, is stem cell-based. If we can figure out how the salamander does it, we think we can do the same thing with humans.’

When Jerry told me that story, it really hit home, as I have lived in Florida now for 30-plus years. Any time you go outside in Florida, you are going to see an anole, which is also in the lizard family like the salamander. In my time living in Florida, I’ve also had a few dogs.

When a dog sees an anole, he’s going to chase it and try and catch it. Many times I have seen a dog of mine step on the tail of the anole and detach the tail. Anoles are territorial. They hang around the same areas, whether it’s near your pool or by certain plants or bushes.

So I was able to spot the ones who lost a tail fairly easily. It’s amazing to see a stub grow into a tail again in a matter of weeks.

The meeting with Dr. Thomson gave Kramer a glimpse of where the stem cell science was heading.

After the visit with Dr. Thomson, Kramer, along with Preston and Steele, went to Harvard and received a full-blown tour of their research lab. They spent three or four hours with Dr. David Sinclair, who headed the lab for the study of aging at Harvard.

After the visit to Harvard, Kramer and company then went to MIT, where they met Dr. Leonard Guarente, who headed the lab for the study of aging at that school since 1982.

“MIT was sort of a golden castle on a far away hill to me,” Kramer said. “My father was a half-assed engineer and most of that was self-taught. He built his own radio when he was 14 years old. Dad thought MIT was the greatest spot in the world and he once told me that I might be able to go there some day.

“So to be at MIT and also to have lunch with Dr. Guarente was a big thrill. I kept calling him Dr. Guarente, being as respectful as I could. Finally he says, ‘Call me Lenny. As in Lenny Moore [of the Baltimore Colts]. I loved you guys. I used to watch you all the time.’

“After our visit to MIT, we went to Stanford and Cal and talked to their research people.”

After Kramer told me that, I mentioned to him that he didn’t mess around on his research tour, going to places like Wisconsin, Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Cal.

“I wanted the best information I could find, Bobby,” Kramer said. “I wanted to go right to the source at the best places we could go. I mean, if I was going to get involved in that, and also get other people involved in that, I wanted to believe in it.

“That was just an incredible time and a wonderful learning experience. All of the folks were so gracious with their time as well. So all that time investigating this research and learning about it, made me believe that the stem cell research community was going to undergo an incredible change.

“I also checked out web sites at Wake Forest (Dr. Anthony Atala) and at the University of Pittsburgh (Dr. Stephen Badylak), which gave me some more outstanding information.

“Basically, I got myself comfortable regarding stem cell research. That it wasn’t BS or snake oil stuff.”

Kramer also started spreading the word about what he had learned to former teammates.

“About four years ago, a bunch of us from the Super Bowl II team were at an autograph function,” Kramer said. “Somebody asked me what I was doing and I started talking about my stem cell research. Don Horn was standing near me and was listening to everything I said.

“Don didn’t say anything, but you could tell he was listening intently. After that, Don started doing his own research and now he has a big role as a liaison for former NFL players who might be helped by stem cell therapy.”

Horn now works with Kandace Stolz, who is President of the Premier Stem Cell Institute.

Kramer is impressed with PSCI, which is located in Johnstown, Colorado.

“I talked with Kandace on the phone. She is very knowledgeable about current and future stem cell facts. I plan on going there to visit with her before too long.”

That would be yet another educational journey for Kramer, as he continues to expand his knowledge in the stem cell research field.