The mid thirties used to mean that an athlete’s career was drawing to a close. Or at the very least the prime of their career was over and they were hanging on for a few more big pay days.
That is no longer the case. This year alone the sporting world has been dominated by athletes in their respective sports that ‘should’ be past their prime.
Tom Brady is the most glaring example. Leading his team to a stunning Super Bowl comeback victory at the age of 40 years old. He credits his longevity not just to good genes but to an insanely strict diet. A diet he shares with his wife, super model Gisele Bundchen.
Then this weekend the world will watch 40 year old Floyd Mayweather go after his 50th consecutive victory against a fighter 11 years younger. Floyd Mayweather took two years off before deciding to return to the ring.
Just to name a few more examples, although Roger Feder is only 36. He might as well be 70 in tennis years and he breezed through Wimbeldon to claim the championship.
Perhaps my favorite example is Jaromir Jagr. At the age of 45 he is shopping around the NHL for a contract. And there are several teams interested.
Last year Kobe Bryant at the age of 38 years old scored a ridiculous 60 points in his final game.
And finally perhaps the most amazing of all is boxer Bernard Hopkins who boxed at a high level until the age of 51 years of age.
So what is adding to these players longevity that players from decades ago could only dream of achieving?
There are a wide variety of new procedures that high end athletes are taking advantage of to maintain their youthful competitiveness.
Here are a few examples of these new techniques
A popular technique is spending time in a hyperbaric chamber. A hyperbaric chamber basically simulates a high altitude environment. Some athletes even reportedly sleep in the chambers.
Cryogenic therapy is another in the new wave of techniques sports stars are using for recovery. Basically cryogenic therapy is being locked in a chamber or cylinder for 2-3 minutes at extremely cold temperatures. Temperatures dip as low as -250 degrees Fahrenheit. This is supposed to send the body into a state of shock that kicks recovery into high gear.
Regenokine blood transfusions are a very high level treatment used by top stars of the NBA and NFL to speed up recovery. The process involves drawing the patients blood then spinning at high speeds. Then injecting that enhanced blood into problem areas of the patient’s body.
Stem cell injections are just the next on the long list of procedures being used to speed up recovery. By using stem cells from an umbilical cord these fresh cells can speed up the recovery for an aging athlete.
Then just generally surgeical procedures are advancing every year. And every year the recovery time for those procedures goes down. What also goes down is the long term effect of the procedures.
I mentioned Tom Brady’s famous diet earlier. He even sold a cookbook for $100. While most athletes are not going to that extreme they are all much more aware of what good nutrition looks like compared to 10 or 20 years ago.
So will Tom Brady give us our first 45 year old Super Bowl MVP? And will 40 year old Floyd Mayweather finish his career 50-0. Only time will tell.