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HomeNews'Eliminate paralysis:' Former Seahawk Lockette promotes spinal cord research in Olympia

‘Eliminate paralysis:’ Former Seahawk Lockette promotes spinal cord research in Olympia

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – A fierce hit during a 2015 game against the Dallas Cowboys knocked Seahawk Ricardo Lockette out of his football career, but helped him into becoming a top ambassador for spinal cord research.

The former wide receiver traveled to the state legislature on Wednesday to promote ground breaking efforts to come up with a three-dimensional map of the spine.

Lockette told a state House hearing, “When I was on that ground and I couldn’t move and I just asked for a chance to hug my mom again.”

He is sharing his story with state lawmakers and sharing what he said is exciting news about stem cells that can fix spinal cord injuries.

“And therefore these stem cells regenerate movement, activity and therefore making paralysis a thing of the past,” said Lockette.

But, first they need a roadmap so doctors know where to insert the cells. Lockette and the researchers said a lot is known about the brain, but very little known about the spinal cord. That’s why they need a 3-D map that’s now in development.

Researchers at the Seattle Science Foundation are getting close to making that map a reality, but more work is needed. They said Lockette couldn’t have come along at a better time to be their ambassador to get the word out.

“He’s the best person for the reality check,” said Dr. Shane Tubbs of the foundation. “This guy almost lost his life on the field, came back and now is taking every day to push the frontiers.”

Lockette said despite the recurring neck and back pain from his injury, he’s willing to talk to anyone and everyone about this mapping project.

“What I learned from this is that no matter why you’re down, but if you get knocked down, if you get the opportunity to get back up make sure you make a difference when you get back up,” said Lockette.

He told lawmakers, “Why not use my name and the Seattle Seahawks and this great ring that we have to change mankind forever.”

But, he said to get to the goal line, it’s going to take money. And he says that’s where donors come in.

“Thank you for what you will do and thank you for what you have done. Go Hawks,” said Lockette.

Researchers at the Seattle Science Foundation said the 3-D map of the spine may be ready within the next decade.

by Keith Eldridge

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