Alex Smith’s wife Elizabeth Smith played a critical role in the Washington quarterback’s long journey back to the football field after multiple intensive surgeries. Elizabeth along with the couple’s three kids, Hunter, Hayes and Sloane, served as inspiration when Alex’s health status looked bleak. During an interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King, Alex cited Elizabeth and their three kids along with his health as the biggest things he is grateful for on Thanksgiving.
“I think certainly first and foremost, grateful for my health right now and my family’s health,” Smith explained. “You realize looking back what a privileged life I led and had never really faced a challenge like that. To have a partner by my side in my wife . . . I was out of it when things got really scary. Certainly amputation was right on the doorstep, even probably hours away from it at one point. [I’m] thankful for her . . . And then the two years afterward, when I was in different states of helplessness, her strength, obviously I’m incredibly thankful and grateful for.”
Elizabeth Admitted She Asked Doctors to Amputate Alex’s Leg After It Became Infected Post-Surgery
Part of the challenge Alex faced was not just the surgery but the infection after the procedure. During a long-form story Elizabeth penned for ESPN, she detailed the scary moments of Alex’s recovery including the flesh-eating bacteria that developed on his leg after his initial surgery. Elizabeth admitted to asking the doctors if it was possible just to amputate Alex’s leg as a measure to help save her husband’s life.
“Please, can you just break this down for me?” Elizabeth recalled her conversation with the doctors. “My husband is laying here. And he’s dying. And it’s coming from his leg. I just need to know — why can’t we just — cut it off? I need to know if I’m going to be able to leave this place with him with me. I can’t go home to my children without him with me. We need to make sure he’s OK.”
What happened next is nothing short of remarkable as the medical team was not only able to save Alex’s leg, but he made a full recovery before taking over as Washington’s quarterback in 2020. Doctors told Elizabeth that the team would do their best to save both his life and leg but admitted “anything beyond that is a miracle,” per ESPN.
The Couple Got Married in 2009 While Alex Was the Niners QB
The couple got married in San Franciso in 2009 while Alex was playing for the 49ers. The family has now made several moves as Alex played for the Chiefs and Washington. Alex met Elizabeth through a mutual friend and the quarterback admitted to not making the best first impression but eventually, the couple hit it off as they got to know each other. After all the Smith family has experienced, Alex emphasized he is thankful to be able to play with their kids noting that being an NFL quarterback is an added bonus.
“My kids are so special to me, being able to play with them,” Alex noted to NBC Sports. “I’m so thankful that I can do that every day. And it’s still so surreal to me that I get to lace up cleats and put a helmet on. Yeah, I gotta wear this brace to do it, but how amazing it is that every day I get to go do this, how awesome that it’s progressed this far. I’m just lucky.”