As Alex Smith stepped onto the field on October 11th to replace an injured Kyle Allen, he achieved something that many people considered to be impossible. Finally, after suffering a spiral and compound fracture to his fibula and tibia on November 18th, 2018, an injury which resulted in life-threatening necrotizing fasciitis that caused sepsis and battling through 17 surgeries with months of grueling rehab, Smith played quarterback again for the Washington Football Team.
Smith proved he has a contagious resilience, as he conquered the odds to slip on the pads and hit the gridiron again. This resilience is just part of what makes up the fiber of Smith’s character. His passion for the game that he loves most drove him to complete one of the more miraculous comebacks from an injury an athlete has ever made.
“The feeling, the range of emotions -- the good and the bad -- is why I fought so hard to come back. I think sometimes you can take it for granted, and certainly being away from it for a couple of years, I've missed it.” Smith said following his comeback performance.
To be able to complete this comeback, Smith had to understand and manage his emotions, as well as be able to analyze the influences around him. Having an injury such as the one he suffered can be traumatic, not to mention discouraging. Smith remained positive however, which kept him well-equipped to handle any potential setback in his recovery.
Smith was also able to complete his comeback due to a firm support system that was built around him. Smith’s wife Elizabeth was crucial to Smith’s return to NFL action. She frequently posted updates about her husband’s rehabilitation and helped him in any way that she could at home, even helping to administer medication to Smith through a PICC line.
“Knowing how much an injury like this can affect a person mentally, physically and emotionally, for Alex to overcome that and get himself back to the point where he can be bigger than any of this is amazing.” Elizabeth said in an interview with the Washington Post.
Understanding and managing emotions, as well as having the ability to analyze the influences around you are core concepts in the Character Playbook.
The knowledge of what it takes to have character is abundant on the roster of the Washington Football team. Two of Smith’s teammates, lineman Ross Pierschbacher and wide receiver Cam Sims, as well as former teammate Tony Bergstrom delivered the lessons of Character Playbook to more than 600 sixth graders at Trailside Middle School in Ashburn, Virginia on October 16th, 2019, while Smith was rehabbing.
Regardless of how many touchdowns Smith throws, or how many yards he scrambles for, it is evident that he will always be a textbook example of how having character can impact a person’s life, and in turn, inspire others.