Rochester, ailment N.Y. (WHAM) - A Super Bowl champion was at the University of Rochester Medical Center last week, order but not for a friendly drop-in.
A first-of-its-kind stem cell procedure could help Chris White get back on the gridiron.
White played with the New England Patriots from 2013-2014 and the Buffalo Bills from 2011-2012 as a linebacker.
Being a linebacker means your body takes a beating.
"It takes a lot on your body, case it's a physical sport," White said. "I had a lot pain. It hurt for probably a year and a half. I finally popped something in my final game."
After multiple surgeries, it was a recommendation and research that led him to URMC's Chief of Sports Medicine, Dr. Michael Maloney.
The unique surgery used White's own stem cells to repair his damaged knee.
"This field of biologics is relatively new," Dr. Maloney said Monday. "We're learning more about it all the time. A lot of patients come in and want to know about it so I think it's exciting we've been able to accomplish that and can offer it to all patients."
The cells were pulled from White's femur and injected back into his joints.
"The hope is the introduction of stem cells can stimulate a more natural healing response, get more natural aligning cartilage that bio mechanically is going to perform like the knee does," Dr. Maloney said.
While Dr. Maloney said stem cells can help to speed up the recovery process, their focus is mainly on complete recovery.
"Chris is an elite athlete," Dr. Maloney said. "He needs to get back on the field at the highest level of competition and we wanted to make sure he had what he needed to be ready."
That state of readiness is exactly where Chris wants to be.
"I'm trying to get healthy and play again," he said.
White had the surgery last week and said he feels great. His goal is to be on the field this summer for training camp.