March 25, 2021

Alex Smith’s Comeback Story - The Comeback Player of the Year

Alex Smith’s Comeback Story - The Comeback Player of the Year

Alex Smith shares the story of how his promising NFL career was derailed by a broken leg which led to an infection which threatened everything. Hear how Alex found a new mindset while in recovery and rehab at the Center for the Intrepid and how he...


Alex Smith shares the story of how his promising NFL career was derailed by a broken leg which led to an infection which threatened everything. Hear how Alex found a new mindset while in recovery and rehab at the Center for the Intrepid and how he became the Comeback Player of the Year in 2020 after he was told he would probably never play football again.  

  • Alex grew up on the mean streets of San Diego as the third child of four. He was fortunate enough to have a supportive family and not really know adversity as a child.
  • He distinctly remembered being frustrated in his youth, and his dad helped him cultivate the mindset of accepting that certain things will happen and how to move on. That helped Alex avoid being distracted from what he was trying to achieve and stay focused.
  • It’s easy for us to have tunnel vision with what’s going on in our own lives. Alex’s parents helped him understand the wider vision which helped him be grateful for what he did have.
  • After Alex left college, his best friend fell into a deep depression and ended up taking his own life. It was during a time where Alex was concerned with what was happening in his own life and he missed his chance to make contact with him. It’s one of the first big challenges in Alex’s life and one of the things he regrets.
  • The more comfortable we can be with death, the more grateful we can be for each day that we are alive.
  • Alex’s adversity begins with when he broke his leg. So much of his identity was wrapped up in being a football player and when infection set in and they had to remove so much of his leg, he wasn’t sure what his life was going to be like. It took months for him to come to terms with it and he had to relive it each morning when he woke up.
  • The mental battle and doubt was the hardest part of Alex’s struggle. Seeing his kids live their lives kept Alex motivated to try to get his life back.
  • The Center for the Intrepid is the center for all limb injuries and they offer treatment to civilians that have injuries that are deemed warlike enough. In return they get to study you so they can continue to improve their treatment and rehab process. It was there that Alex started his rehab and found a new outlook on life.
  • The Center allowed Alex to enjoy the process of recovery and to focus on simply taking one step at a time. Putting all the focus on a single small step made it achievable instead of overwhelming.
  • Alex struggled with the weight of the expectations he felt when he was first drafted and it became a self-perpetuating circle that was unhealthy and unproductive. He went from loving football to feeling like it was a burden. It wasn’t until he flipped his mindset and he realized that he needed to “just live” and enjoy the moment because it wasn’t going to last forever.
  • The times when Alex doubted it was going to work out were just before something good came around the corner. 
  • “Just live” became a mantra for Alex and it’s the message he would send back to his younger self. Don’t try to be perfect or worry about other people’s validations.
  • Being mindful and present in your life is how you accept the stresses and frustrations of life. Even in a sports context, being present is how you perform at the highest level.
  • The main things in life you control are your effort and your attitude. 
  • Alex eventually returned to the football field once he had recovered enough. He was determined to see how far that road went and that it would have been disrespectful to walk away from the opportunity that was put in front of him. 
  • Alex’s comeback shoutout goes to his wife. She managed to keep their whole life going while he was getting through his recovery and has been extremely supportive. 

Alex Smith

Former American football quarterback

Alexander Douglas Smith is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for 16 seasons. He played college football at Utah, where he was recognized as an All-American and led his team to victory in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.