NZ's champion wood chopper aims for 10th world title after overcoming arthritis scare

Source: 1News

Jason Wynyard may not be a household name, but the world champion wood chopper has spent the best part of three decades as one of our most successful and decorated athletes.

"In that time, I’ve amassed over 250 world championship titles," Mr Wynyard, who started the sport at the age of 12, told Seven Sharp reporter Tamati Rimene-Sproat.

"No one's ever done that. There’s only been four other competitors that have actually won the world championship since its inception."

Successful, that is, until osteoarthritis threatened to end it all.

"Pretty much, I had worn the cartilage in my hip joint down to bone on bone, but the pain was awful and there weren't a lot of options outside of a full hip replacement or resurfacing," he said.

Surgery meant that Mr Wynyard would never compete again, and he had a world championship coming up in October so, after some research, he decided to look into stem cell regeneration.

"We take the cells from the fat, harvest them, purify them, multiply them to take it to the number we wanted," rheumatologist Dr Hassan Mubark explained.

The cells are then injected into the joint to regenerate cartilage.

"These are premature cells but they become highly specialised when you put them into the structure."

Now, after three months, Mr Wynyard's back and aiming for a tenth world title.