Bart Starr undergoing stem cell treatment in Tijuana

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It’s called "Stem Cell Tourism," people cross the border for stem cell treatment that’s not legal in the United States.

A Hall of Fame football player is one of those tourists, hoping for a miracle.

He’s considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of football, winning the first two Super Bowls for the Green Bay Packers.

Now, Bart Starr is hoping for one more big play.

After two strokes and a heart attack, Starr is undergoing stem cell treatment in Tijuana, a treatment that is not approved in the U.S., but conducted by a San Diego group called, "Stemedica" across the border.

"We all want to get better with whatever ails us … hope is a very powerful generator of human motivation," said Doctor Larry Goldstein, the head of stem cell research at UCSD. 

The motivation here is clear.

At age 82, Bart Starr wants to walk onto Lambeau Field one more time, a ceremony to retire the number of Brett Farve.

His family claims he’s doing better, even though this treatment is experimental and now allowed on this side of the border.

"I’d agree that the American medical system is at times not fast enough, but it also protects us from snake oil," Doctor Goldstein said. 

Doctor Goldstein knows all about stem cells. 

"But the difference is, we do careful experiments before we claim something works and when we’re not sure whether it works or not, we say so and we don’t take money from people in exchange for a therapy we cannot claim works," Goldstein said. 

Gordie Howe also had a stroke and wanted to reach for anything that promised better health.

In this case, Stemedica also sent him across the border for experimental stem cell treatments.

So this Thanksgiving is the big day for Bart Starr.

That’s the day he hopes to walk on his own and help Brett Farve retire his jersey at Green Bay.

That’s also the day we could learn more about a miracle treatment, or not.

Categories: Health