Keynote Speaker Alex Smith Shares Comeback Story at Series in Utah

Keynote speaker Alex Smith recently shared his amazing story of overcoming self-doubt and recovering from a devastating life-altering accident. On Tuesday, March 22, Smith spoke to an audience at Murray High School about his life and his recovery.


The former Utah star was the first speaker in KSL TV and KSL NewsRadio's Voices speaker series. The show focuses on “conversations with some of the most inspirational and influential voices.”


Smith talked about his experience at the University of Utah and the highs and lows of his NFL career, particularly his difficult comeback from a leg injury he sustained in 2018. The former NFL quarterback told KSL TV's Debbie Worthen that he didn't believe he was anything remarkable in football until he was in his mid-20s.


Smith finished his undergraduate degree early and decided to pursue a career in professional football after his junior season. The San Francisco 49ers selected him as the first overall choice in the 2005 NFL Draft.


Being the first overall choice in the NFL Draft caused "a lot of anxiety" and "weight," according to Alex Smith. Smith recalled of his first few seasons in the league, "I thought I had to be perfect."


The former quarterback admitted that it took him "many years" to adapt to the pressure he faced when he first entered the NFL.


"I thought I was the only one going through it," Smith explained of his state of mind. “We all deal with it in life,” he soon discovered.


On November 18, 2018, Smith broke his fibula and tibia on a routine play during a game against the Houston Texans. Doctors determined that surgery was required right away.


 “I remember thinking, ‘I’ll be back in time for spring ball,” said Smith. Smith had a fever a few days after the initial surgery, and his leg was infected with flesh-eating bacteria.


Several weeks later, Smith's doctors and family were debating whether to save his life or amputate his limb. Smith was in a "dark, dark place mentally" during his recuperation, which took a long time and was challenging. “I was just thinking about being a functional person,” said Smith. Smith battled his way back to health with the help of his family and medical professionals.


Smith was cleared by doctors and was added to Washington's 53-man roster before the start of the 2020 season. He was re-instated as Washington's starting quarterback in the middle of the season. He was instrumental in leading Washington to the NFL Playoffs, having a 5-1 record in games he started.


Smith threw for 1,582 yards, six touchdowns, and eight interceptions this year. Smith was released by Washington after the season. He announced his retirement from football in April 2021.


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