Some things are bigger than the game of football, and even while the Washington Commanders are surrounded by losing seasons and off-field controversy, there's room for compassion when it comes to real-life health concerns for any member - past or present - and their family.
And that's exactly what former Washington quarterback Alex Smith and his family will get after sharing on Instagram this weekend that his daughter had to undergo major surgery in May, and while she is recovering, has more health battles on the horizon.
"This is Sloane Kenzington Smith, our baby, the youngest of three and our only girl," Smith wrote in the post, showing a series of photos of his daughter, Sloane. "She is sweet, selfless, intelligent, hilarious, witty, fun-loving, an artist, a singer, and a dancing machine. But most of all she is an incredibly strong girl that has a ton of fight in her."
Smith then went on to share what his family has been going through in the past month and a half, beginning with an emergency room visit on May 10, just days before Mother's Day, and one month prior to Father's Day.
The visit ended with doctors telling the two parents their daughter had a tumor in her brain that required an emergency craniotomy.
What followed was an excruciating 10-hour marathon that brings tears to our very eyes as we imagine the emotions experienced as they waited for word on her condition.
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"The incredible neurosurgeons (at Stanford Children's) did a miraculous job and were able to remove 100% of the tumor," Smith says. "Sloane—in her true form—bounced back from brain surgery like a rockstar! She didn’t skip a beat. After weeks of waiting on pathology, we learned that Sloane’s tumor is a very rare malignant tumor with very few documented cases—without a clear road map for treatment. We are currently awaiting more tests and gathering as many opinions as we can from doctors across the country to decide the best path forward. We wish this were easy, clear-cut and someone gave us a how-to guide. It’s anything but that.
All we know is what is most important—and that’s SLOANE. She has healed from surgery. Back to her bubbly self. Singing, dancing, laughing and feeling good."
Sloane and her parents have more appointments ahead of them. And the family apologized for seeming withdrawn, as they deal with a situation that easily triggers the instinct to retreat into the family unit, as they prepare for the battles that potentially await them.
To say we'll be thinking and praying for Sloane and her family in a time like this feels woefully underwhelming. But it's exactly what we'll be doing.
We will turn again to Washington Commanders football, of course.
But right now we take a moment to pause and reflect on the things that mean more than wins and losses on the field, and wish Sloane Kenzington Smith health and recovery, and her parents all of the emotional resiliency they'll need in the days ahead.