Through their lens: high school student ponders regenerative medicine and athletic fame

This summer we’re sponsoring high school interns in stem cell labs throughout California. We asked those students to contribute to our Instagram photos and YouTube videos about life in the lab, and write about their experiences.

In addition to carrying out a stem cell research project, the students were expected to carry out a secondary project relating their work to other areas of study.

Nikolas Victoria submitted this photo of his life in the lab to our #CIRMStemCellLab Instagram feed. He did a stem cell research internship this summer in the laboratory of Thomas Weimbs at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The world of regenerative medicine is rapidly advancing, and new opportunities for a person’s life to change through it will soon become more common. This rapid development will have various effects on all aspects of culture, including the world of sports. In sports only a select few attain a certain level of fame. There are many facets that contribute to the accumulation of fame. One of the most significant facets of fame is a player’s appearance time. The more time a player is out on the floor or on the field, the more likely he or she is to get famous. With the recent progress in regenerative medicine, players with injuries (not necessarily a broken bone or torn muscle), that may have kept them out of the game for a season or for their whole career have the chance to get back on the floor. This allows them more appearance time and in turn more fame and more opportunity to procure fame.

Regenerative medicine can also bring a non-performance-based form of fame to a player. The procedure of getting a new organ, or having some regenerative medicinetype treatment, can also bring attention to a player. If a player was out for the rest of his or her life, but suddenly was back in a few weeks or months because of regenerative medicine. Or an older player who was player who was planning to retire because of his heart, gets a new younger, better heart. There would be a major story on the player and surrounding the the players career. There would likely be a fan base who support the player’s perseverance and new hope. Conversely, there would also be groups who disagree with the means by which the player returned, arguing that the procedure may give the player an advantage over others. Both forms of attention, despite their opposing natures, contribute to the fame of the person. Not all of it may be positive, but it can still bring public exposure to that player.

This brings me to the the idea of performance enhancing procedures. Could it be possible to use stem cell research and regenerative medicine to increase a players skill? There would likely be controversy over whether players who receive certain transplantations have more skill, strength, or endurance than they had before. Negative fame could at times act against a player if there is no positive force to counter it. The player could be rejected and lose everything. However, in the end, I think the use of regenerative medicine in relation to the sports world, would likely create more fame than it would destroy.

Nikolas Victoria

Nikolas sent us this video of his experience:

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