Alex Smith’s comeback to the NFL field is nothing short of miraculous. Earlier this year, Dr. Robin West, the team physician for the Washington Football Team, made that statement to ESPN.
It appeared that Smith’s NFL career was over after he sustained a complex fracture with additional issues in 2018. Instead, he endured nearly two years of rehabilitation and 17 operations to return to the NFL. So far in 2020, Smith has started two games for Washington and won his first game since Week 11 of 2018 with the team.
Just What Was Alex Smith Hurt By?
Smith was taken down by the Texans in the backfield on that fateful day of November 18th, 2018. Smith’s right leg was caught at an unnatural angle, resulting in a complex fracture that shattered both his tibia and fibula.
Smith’s recovery was hindered by a flesh-eating bacterial infection that developed after his initial surgery. After the initial surgery to fix the complicated fracture, Smith’s leg required another 16 operations before it could begin the long road to recovery. Smith lost a lot of tissue during the procedures, so even though he can play again, he has to wear a unique titanium brace to protect his leg.
What Makes Alex Smith “Very Much Lucky to Be Alive”
Smith said on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” in 2020 that he considers himself “very much lucky to be alive.” An infection caused by flesh-eating bacteria quickly spread after Smith’s initial operation. Smith was accompanied by Dr. Robin West, the team doctor for the Washington Capitals.
Apparently, West made these comments to ESPN: “We’re trying to help as much as we can. Also, we’re going to make saving his life our top priority right now. We’re going to try our hardest to save his leg after that. Anything more than that is nothing short of a miracle.”
The illness was the main factor in Smith’s precarious condition. Smith was septic due to the illness, which meant that he was releasing a lot of chemicals into his blood in an attempt to fight it. A number of bodily systems might have been harmed by the toxins. The doctors had planned to amputate Smith’s right leg above the knee if they couldn’t treat the infection.
According to ESPN, more than ten procedures were required to get the infection under control after Smith had undergone a muscle transplant and microvascular surgery to address it. A full 20 months after the initial injury, in July 2020, Smith was finally given the green light to return to the field by his medical staff.