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The new stroke treatment that's changing lives

Half a million Australians are living with the devastating consequences of stroke but an experimental treatment in the US is giving some sufferers immediate and long-term relief.

However, the drug providing these seemingly miraculous recoveries, is not being clinically trialled yet.

Four decades since Johnny 'The Bomber' Peard was at his peak as a Rugby League star, he is now crippled by the effects of a near-fatal stroke.

He and mum of five Kylie have travelled to the US to try the experimental drug etanercept.

To treat the effects of stroke, etanercept is injected into the in the back of the neck — patients are then tipped upside-down for about five minutes so the drug can go directly and quickly into the brain.

Dr Nancy Kim says she has been administering this drug on a trial basis and seen incredible results.

"There hasn’t been anything that has happened to really make anyone have any fear of this injection but we weren’t able to get approval for a trial, so as you can imagine, it is difficult."

After being injected both the patients experienced benefits within minutes.

"I feel like someone’s just flicked a light bulb and I don’t feel tired I’ve always had this lethargic feeling constantly and I don’t feel it at all now," Kylie told Sunday Night's Chris Bath.

"No pain. No there’s no pain. Zero."

Months after the treatment, Peard says it has given him back a great deal of independence.

"It’s a life changing experience. I was paralysed down the left and for a bloke that, even when he retired, to be so active and still go to the gym every day and train every day… it was a life changing moment."

John and Kylie received support from Men Of League to get to California, visit their website here.

Griffith University Clinical Trial information:

Griffith University Clinical Trial email:

Institute of Neurological Recovery:

Stroke Recovery Trial Fund website :

Stroke Recovery Trial Fund Facebook:

Perispinal Etanercept Action Group (information about the treatment in lay terms) :