Some of you have probably heard of or seen an all-time classic movie called the Princess Bride. In that movie there’s a character named Miracle Max. Now he has a very memorable quote in the movie that says, “There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive, now with all dead there’s only one thing you can do, cut through his clothes and find loose change.” Now you might ask why I’m using this quote on a story about football? Well let me tell you.
The injury Alex Smith suffered and came back from is nothing short of a Miracle. Now I’m not saying Alex Smith almost died although the multiple infections became life threatening, what I am saying is his career easily could have been over. However, just like Miracle Max says “there’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead”. In this case I see his career as it was mostly dead. We didn’t know if he’d ever play again with such a gruesome injury that required 17 surgeries. Thankfully he was able to return and what a return it has been; he just led the Washington Football Team to an improbable victory over the previously undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
That was an incredible feat for the now 5-7 Football Team but that game came with more obstacles than expected. Smith could “see the blood pumping out” of a cut under his left sock in the second quarter of Monday’s game.
“Never, had one gush like that.” 2005’s first overall draft pick shrugged off what he attributed to getting “accidentally” stepped on by a cleated player.
In the grand scheme of things, that was just a scratch compared to what Smith has overcome to get to this point.
Back on the 18th of November of 2018, Smith suffered a gruesome injury, spiral and compound fractures of the tibia and fibula (the two bones of the lower leg), which broke right through the skin. Doctors likened it to a war injury. Then it got even worse from there, multiple infections and flesh-eating bacteria.
Doctors were no longer concerned about saving his football career or even his leg for that matter; they were just trying to save his life. As mentioned earlier, the injury required 17 surgeries, including the use of screws and muscle and skin taken from other parts of his body to rebuild his leg. He remained in the hospital for months.
The fact that he even wanted to continue his playing career is worthy of applause. The man silenced the doubters and survived roster cuts, making the team as a third string Quarterback. When he was promoted to second string, many were concerned if he’d even be able to play a down or not, if needed. The time came when then starter Kyle Allen got injured and Smith played his first down of football in a long, hard fought 693 days. Incredible. Smith has only made this story more miraculous by how well he has played. He’s led Washington to three victories in the last four games and has them in a very good position to win the NFC East and make his return to the postseason.
His stats may not be remarkable but he’s playing winning football and has been clutch in big moments, leading game winning drives like the one against Pittsburgh.
Smith is a no brainer for the Comeback player of the year award and it’s even being said that the league should name the award after him for his miraculous return.
Now if any of you ever have a gruesome injury or a setback, just remember that quote from Miracle Max and let it inspire you to come back and do great things.
Elijah Allen Lippert
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