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What Happened To Alex Smiths Leg

What Happened To Alex Smiths Leg

Alex Smith’s Harrowing Journey: From Near Amputation to NFL Comeback

Alex Smith’s Harrowing Journey: From Near Amputation to NFL Comeback

The Catastrophic Injury

It was a typical NFL game day in November 2018 when Alex Smith, then quarterback for the Washington Football Team, experienced a life-altering event. During a play, Smith was tackled by defenders from the Houston Texans, resulting in a severe injury to his right leg. The impact caused a compound fracture, breaking both the tibia and fibula. The sight of his leg, bent unnaturally, signaled a grave situation that extended beyond the football field.

Initial Treatment and Complications

Following the injury, Smith underwent immediate surgery to address the fractures. Initially, the procedure seemed successful, and the focus was on recovery. However, complications soon arose. Smith developed a high fever, and subsequent tests revealed a life-threatening infection in his bloodstream. The diagnosis was dire: necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria, was rapidly spreading through his leg. This urgent medical crisis shifted the priority from recovery to saving his life and limb.

Multiple Surgeries and the Battle Against Infection

The severity of the infection required aggressive treatment. Smith was subjected to multiple surgeries, with doctors removing infected tissue to stop the spread of the bacteria. Each surgery was a race against time to control the infection while trying to preserve as much of his leg as possible. The situation was grim, and at one point, amputation seemed like a potential outcome. However, Smith’s medical team, led by Dr. Robin West and several other specialists, remained determined to save both his life and his leg.

Innovative Surgical Techniques and Recovery

As the infection was brought under control, the focus shifted to reconstructive surgeries to salvage and restore function to Smith’s leg. Plastic surgeons, including Dr. Vineet Mehan, employed innovative techniques, using tissue from other parts of Smith’s body to reconstruct the severely damaged areas. These surgeries were not only crucial for physical recovery but also for Smith’s hopes of maintaining a normal life post-recovery.

The Road to an Unlikely Comeback

Against all odds, the extensive rehabilitation and unwavering determination led to an incredible turn of events. After enduring 17 surgeries and a grueling recovery process, Smith made a remarkable return to the NFL in 2020. His comeback was nothing short of miraculous, as he not only returned to play at a professional level but also led his team to the playoffs, earning the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.

Life After Football

Following his heroic return to football, Alex Smith announced his retirement from the sport in 2021. He has since dedicated himself to motivational speaking, broadcasting, and philanthropy, particularly focusing on helping foster teens transition into adulthood. His journey continues to inspire many, not just in sports but in all walks of life facing adversity.

Legacy and Recognition

Alex Smith’s story is a testament to human resilience and the wonders of modern medicine. His experience has been recognized with nominations for awards like the Patients of Courage, which honor individuals who have overcome tremendous challenges and contributed positively to their communities. Smith’s legacy, marked by his incredible comeback, continues to influence and inspire.


  • What injury did Alex Smith suffer?
    He suffered a compound fracture to his right leg, breaking both the tibia and fibula.
  • What complications did Alex Smith face during recovery?
    He developed a severe infection caused by necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria, which led to multiple surgeries.
  • How many surgeries did Alex Smith undergo?
    He underwent 17 surgeries to control the infection and reconstruct his leg.
  • Did Alex Smith return to professional football?
    Yes, he made a comeback to the NFL in 2020 and even led his team to the playoffs.
  • What does Alex Smith do now after retiring from football?
    He works as a motivational speaker, ESPN broadcaster, and philanthropist.

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