It’s a miracle he still has both legs
Washington quarterback Alex Smith is a long shot to play in the NFL this season, but after seeing what his body went through two years ago you understand why he’s grateful just to be able to walk.
Smith suffered one of the worst NFL injuries in recent memory when he was sacked by J.J. Watt and Kareem Jackson in a game against the Texans in November 2018. It was a spiral and compound fracture of the right tibia and fibula.
It’s been a long, long road to recovery for Smith, who was hospitalized for a month after the leg became infected. There was a genuine fear that the leg may have to be amputated.
Smith’s rehab is the subject of a new installment of ESPN’s E:60, set to debut on Friday.
Included in the documentary is a photo of what Smith’s leg looked like after surgery to repair the break led to an infection. It’s truly grotesque. It’s so stomach-churning I won’t embed it here. I’ll link to it here, but be aware that if you click on this link you’ll see a man’s leg covered in black pustules.
The prevailing reaction after Smith said he was nearly forced to have the leg amputated and that he was “lucky to be alive” was disbelief. I know that’s what I felt. We know football is a dangerous game but aside from injuries involving the head and spine, we rarely consider the possibility that an on-field injury could be life-altering. Seeing Smith’s leg and hearing that he went into sepsis as a result of the infection spreading to his blood really puts things in perspective.
And yet, Smith fully intends to return to the field. If he does, it’ll be a truly unbelievable achievement.
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