Come one, come all! Gather around to witness the miracle of RECOVERY WATER, the newest belief-backed thingamabob that'll heal head injuries, mend bum knees and rewind the last 30 seconds of Super Bowl XLIX.
Okay, so that last bit isn't true, but neither are the first two things. In the mind of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, however, they are.
In a profile on Wilson published by Rolling Stone on Wednesday, Wilson reveals a water brand he's invested in, Recovery Water. For $3 per bottle, Wilson claims, the water helps people heal quickly from sports injuries.
"I banged my head during the Packers game in the playoffs, and the next day I was fine," Wilson told Rolling Stone. "It was the water."
The injury Wilson is referring to happened on this play involving Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.
Nothing a little water can't heal! After that hit, which happened in January's NFC Championship game, broadcasters speculated that Wilson had suffered a concussion, but according to FOX sideline reporter Erin Andrews, Wilson was cleared by team doctors to go back in the game after "they talked to him for all of two seconds."
In the same Rolling Stone piece, Wilson's agent Mark Rodgers walked back his client's claim, adding, "Well, we're not saying we have real medical proof."
That, however, didn't deter Wilson, who promptly went ahead and undid his agent's swift handiwork.
"I know it works. Soon, you're going to be able to order it straight from Amazon," he told Rolling Stone, also claiming that the water had healed a teammate's knee injury.
On Wednesday, Wilson tweeted a veiled response to critics of his Rolling Stone quotes. Tripling down on his beliefs, he went a step further and claimed that Recovery Water prevents concussions, too.
At this point, he might as well have morphed into Dr. Oz.
So how does the water work, exactly? According to Recovery Water's website, the "science behind it" working involves their scientists conducting a "special electro-kinetically modified process" that leaves the water "infused with charged nano-structures."
Well, what does any of that mean? WHO KNOWS. No, literally -- not even experts know what that means.
"The term 'charged nano-structures' is not very helpful or specific," Dr. Christopher Giza, a professor at the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, told The Huffington Post via email on Thursday.
And that's the point -- Recovery Water's jargon is purposefully overly scientific, because it's good product marketing copy. Recovery Water's website also contains their published research on the product, written by a group called Seattle Sports Performance. They found that drinking the water "prior to strenuous exercise may improve performance and enhance training adaptation."
Independent studies seem to back up Recovery Water's research. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology did find that electrokinetically modified water may reduce muscle inflammation post-workout -- but there's definitely a difference between exercise-induced muscle damage and a potential concussion, which Wilson claims to have been healed of thanks to Recovery Water.
"I am not aware of any scientific human study to suggest that this works for concussion or any other kind of traumatic brain injury," Dr. Giza told HuffPost.
Chris Nowinski, the executive director of the Sports Legacy Institute, a concussion advocacy organization, underlined the harm Wilson is doing by pedaling falsities about his product.
"It is irresponsible to imply that this product prevents concussions," he told HuffPost in an email on Thursday.
"Russell Wilson is not a medical expert, and may not understand when it is appropriate to make such claims, but this product does not have the evidence yet to make such a claim," Nowinski added. Neither Recovery Water nor the NFL responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.
If anything, the attractively packaged bottled water and its big-name endorser's pontification makes for a killer placebo. This, however, is unacceptable to concussion experts, especially when NFL players are beginning to value their brain health more than their short-lived football careers.
"NFL stars are role models, and if Mr. Wilson is going to speak on concussions, which we would welcome, he should stick to medically appropriate statements," Nowinski also wrote.
While nobody is doubting the water's hydration properties -- it is water, after all -- saying that Recovery Water has actual medicinal properties are straight-up snake oil sales tactics.
Or it just makes Russell Wilson the best company man there is.
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