Rather, Smith defied expectations by rehabbing the way hurt unique forces do. Alex Smith: The visual was the most disconcerting thing, for me to look down and know that my leg was broken, it wasnt straight– flexing in a location it should not bend.Dr. They put Smiths leg back together with three plates and 28 screws and pins.After surgery the X-rays looked good, however what Dr. West and her colleagues might not see was bacteria, she thinks from Washingtons football field, had actually infected the open injury on Smiths leg.Alex Smith: There in those couple days after is when it– it, you know, quickly– rapidly got sideways.Elizabeth Smith: His blood pressures dropping, his fever was increasing.” Smith underwent 8 operations in 10 days to carefully get rid of all the dead or contaminated tissue.Norah ODonnell: What did Alex Smiths leg look like?Dr. The day after he helped Washington clinch the NFC East and a spot in the playoffs Smith was sore and needed some physical treatment.
If you are searching for strength and character in the nations capital these days, look no more than the story of Alex Smith. Just over two years ago the Washington quarterback suffered a crippling injury that practically caused the amputation of his right leg. It would have been a brutal end to the long profession of a guy who was once the first general draft choice in the NFL and a 3 time pro-bowler. Instead, Smith defied expectations by rehabbing the way hurt special forces do. Tonight a take a look at among the biggest returns in sports history. Everything began a little over two years ago, November 18, 2018 when Alex Smith led Washington as quarterback versus the Houston Texans and pass rushes, Kareem Jackson and J.J. Watt, crashed through his offensive line.Alex Smith: It was one of those plays as a quarterback, you understand, “Okay, they got us–” you know, “Secure the football and– and just kinda get down.Alex Smith: I right away understood that it was broken.Norah ODonnell: You could see it or you felt it? Alex Smith: The visual was the most worrying thing, for me to look down and know that my leg was broken, it wasnt straight– flexing in a location it shouldnt bend.Dr. Robin West: Alex isnt a person who goes down a lot. I had actually never ever worked on the field for him.Dr. Robin West is the Washington Football Teams head physician. This is her 18th season in the NFL.Dr. Robin West: And I understood rapidly that the injury was– was extreme when I got out there.Norah ODonnell: Just so that individuals understand, what is a substance spiral fracture?Dr. Robin West: He had a fracture that extended from his ankle joint approximately his knee joint. So, it spiraled all the way up the tibia, and then he had a piece of bone protruding of his skin.Norah ODonnell: How frequently do injuries like this take place in football?Dr. Robin West: Like this? No. Really, really rarely.After watching from the stands, Alex Smiths other half, Elizabeth, rushed down to be with her husband. Norah ODonnell: Do you remember what he said to you in the ambulance?Elizabeth Smith: Yes. He wanted me to pull the video game up on my phone. He needed to know the score, he wished to know how the offense was doing. He was not even stressed over his leg whatsoever. He was fretted about his team.A team of orthopedic injury surgeons was waiting to run at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia. They put Smiths leg back together with 3 plates and 28 screws and pins.After surgery the X-rays looked good, but what Dr. West and her associates could not see was bacteria, she thinks from Washingtons football field, had infected the open injury on Smiths leg.Alex Smith: There in those couple days after is when it– it, you understand, rapidly– rapidly got sideways.Elizabeth Smith: His blood pressures dropping, his fever was escalating. And thats when I knew it was a lot worse than we ever anticipated.Not lots of diagnoses sound worse than necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly called flesh-eating bacteria. As the infection ravaged Smiths leg, his body reacted by developing stage-two sepsis, a dangerous condition that can damage organs and lead to death.Norah ODonnell: And his infection simply keeps getting worse. Whats going through your mind?Elizabeth Smith: Im clearly more concerned about his life. He is septic. And, you understand, you hear all these shocking numbers on when people go septic. At one point, Elizabeth Smith asked to talk to Dr. West privately. His medical team was currently thinking about the amputation of her partners best leg.Dr. Robin West: She said simply– simply to eliminate it. “I simply desire him to live and stroll out of here.” So, we talked with his family and his daddy had a comparable view. And after that we went to Alex. But he stated, “Do what you can to save my leg. Do anything you can to save it.” Smith underwent eight operations in ten days to carefully remove all the infected or dead tissue.Norah ODonnell: What did Alex Smiths leg appearance like?Dr. Robin West: Bone, essentially. All he had was his calf muscle and his tibia and his fibula.Alex Smith: We were in the healthcare facility roughly a month. They needed to eliminate a fair bit of muscle and tissue from my lower leg– in order to– to get the infection under control. Alex Smith: And then confronted with the truth that, “Hey, we–” you understand, “We– we still may need to cut off your leg.” And– for me, that– to hear those words– hard to handle as an expert athlete, and somebody that– that actually– I– I imply, I think I took that for given for so long- my body, my health. Yeah.Norah ODonnell: The many standard thing people take for granted.Alex Smith: Yeah. No doubt. Simply questioning, like, I imply, would I ever be able to go on walks with my wife? Would I ever be able to play with my kids? Crazy truth. So yeah actually happy to be here.Surgeons covered Smiths bones so they would recover, partly by eliminating a portion of his left thigh muscle and positioning it on his lower ideal leg. His leg was also fitted with a piece of hardware called an external fixator.Alex Smith: It looks middle ages, but its actually innovative orthopedics. Therefore I use this metal cage thats bolted into and pinned into my leg, and it holds my leg and bone in place– while it heals.Norah ODonnell: How long did you have to use the fixator?Alex Smith: Yeah, it was practically 10 months I used this bolted in my leg. It was a long process.The Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio was specifically developed to assist Wounded Warriors through that procedure. Dr. West reached out to her pal Johnny Owens, who for ten years had been the centers chief physical therapist.Norah ODonnell: Had you seen a great deal of injuries that were similar to what Alex had?Johnny Owens: I have. That was the trademark injury of– of the wars was these lower leg injuries from blast injuries, stepping on landmines.Smith asked for and got special permission from the Pentagon to visit and consult with the Center for the Intrepids staff.Johnny Owens: We saw hundreds of Alex Smiths come through this door with those kind of injuries and– and stated, youre gon na have the ability to run. Youre gon na be able to do all these type of things that– that people informed you werent gon na have the ability to do.Dr. Joe Alderete is a West Point graduate and chief of orthopedic cosmetic surgery at the center. Dr. Joe Alderete: From the minute we– we met, you might inform in the appearance behind his eyes that can be many of my patients, either blast injury, roadside bomb, cancer. That look is binary. Its “you will prosper” or “you will stop working.” And Alex had the appearance of success.During Smiths first trip to the Center for the Intrepid just a few months after his injury, the ESPN program “E60” taped a major turning point in his recovery. Norah ODonnell: What occurred when you tossed Alex a football for the first time?Johnny Owens: Two things. He practically– broke my ribs due to the fact that I didnt catch the ball right. And 2nd, there was that trigger in his eye. It w– it was so cool. I believe it resembled a light bulb went off.Smith says he was humbled and influenced to be around service members, some with injuries similar to his own, who were not only returning but running to duty.Alex Smith: The rest of the world was telling me, “Temp–” yeah, “Go be happy about the rest of your life and– and hopefully you save your leg and– and that d be excellent. And, you understand, whatever you can do beyond that is icing on the cake.” Which was not the mentality down there– Norah ODonnell: At the Center for Intrepid– Alex Smith: That was the specific opposite. That its alright to dream about playing again. It was fine for– for service males and females if they wished to go back and try and serve, and to do triathlons, and– and– and be elite. To go chase it. Which– Norah ODonnell: No mental limitations.Alex Smith: No. No.Through countless hours of physical treatment and with the aid of numerous braces and orthotics, Smith would re-learn to stroll, then run and ultimately move like a quarterback again, sometimes with the assistance of his spouse, Elizabeth. Alex Smith first tossed a football as a toddler. He says he always wanted to be a quarterback and regardless of being recruited by Harvard and Princeton selected to play football at the University of Utah.After being picked by the 49ers as the very first total choice in the 2005 draft, ahead of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Smith had problem with injuries and consistency, but after a transfer to Kansas City in 2013, played the finest football of his profession. Then the group drafted a young quarterback from Texas Tech.Norah ODonnell: Whats the name of that person again who replaced you at Kansas City?Alex Smith: Yeah. Dont know if you ever heard of him. Respectable player.Reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes spent the 2017 season as Alex Smiths backup and understudy.Patrick Mahomes: He didnt hold anything back from me. I suggest, he taught me. Thats just the kind of individual he was which he is. And Im … I associate a great deal of my success to him.Alex Smith: I believe the important things that leaps out to me– from our relationship is from the first day the shared respect. And I think just, you know, what a great person he was.Norah ODonnell: How did you coach him?Alex Smith: I was gon na be an excellent colleague. I wasnt gon na be self-centered. You understand, I– I registered to play a group sport and was gon na do my part.This past summertime at the age of 36, after 17 surgeries and 20 months out of the video game, Alex Smith was medically cleared to rejoin the Washington Football Team, despite the fact that his tibia bone was not yet 100% healed.Norah ODonnell: But after everything that youve gone through, why would you risk it?Alex Smith: Im not insane. I was– I wasnt gon na do this if I didnt, you know, certainly speak with the experts.Alex Smith: And so to hear lastly from the professionals that, “Okay, you can.” For me, a bit of a gut check, you know. Do I really wan na do this? Do I put myself out there, walk across those white lines potentially once again in live action.Norah ODonnell: Nerve-wracking or exhilarating? Alex Smith: Both.He would not in fact play in a video game up until week 5, when the starting quarterback got hurt against the Los Angeles Rams.Three plays in, Smith was sacked by all-pro take on Aaron Donald. And then, he got right back up. Viewing on TELEVISION, while released in Iraq, was Dr. Joe Alderete.Dr. Joe Alderete: I was so pleased with Alex– sorry– and– and all that he had achieved.Norah ODonnell: You were psychological then enjoying that.Dr. Joe Alderete: I was, I was totally blown away. I didnt know whether I w– I desired to cheer or toss up. It terrified me to death, however I– I simply loved watching Alex achieve. Dr. Alderete states the only other clients hes seen attain similar outcomes are the most elite U.S. Special Forces. Norah ODonnell: So youve dealt with nearly 1,000 limb salvage clients. How many have actually been able to get back to the kind of functionality that Alex Smith has?Dr. Joe Alderete: Less than a lots. Alex is my capstone patient of someone who definitely knocked it outta the park.Smith went on to tape a five and one record as a starter. Washington beat archrivals the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day and in their next game, messed up the Steelers undefeated season. The day after he helped Washington clinch the NFC East and an area in the playoffs Smith was sore and required some physical therapy. He had missed the previous two games since of a bone bruise, on yes, his salvaged right leg.Washingtons coaches decided not to play him last week against Tom Brady and Tampa Bay, which won the video game. Later on, the best of perpetuity made it an indicate pay his aspects, to the accomplishment of Alex Smiths comeback.Tom Brady after video game versus Washington: Hey, so pleased with you, brother. Youre unbelievable, you know that? And despite completion of his season, the comeback might not be over yet.Alex Smith: This year has– has actually only pushed– for me that I can– you know, dip into this level. I seem like Ive had a lot of individuals connect to me– stating they feel like my mother, you understand, when Im playing. And how concerned they are for me.Elizabeth Smith: I understand individualss apprehension. I have the very same apprehensions. But I believe its larger than football. Thats what I inform individuals. Its not about the video game. Its about what occurred and returning on your feet and cleaning yourself off, no matter what the challenge is..