Skip to main content

Photos surfaced last week showing Alex Smith’s leg after the gruesome injury he suffered in 2018. Fans who saw the images wondered how Smith even survived such a terrible injury. Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann suffered a similar injury in 1985, and it sadly ended his football career. The similarities don’t stop there, however. Almost every single detail surrounding both injuries is the same. It’s harrowing how much both injuries have in common.

Alex Smith almost died from his 2018 injury

Normally, athletes who suffer major injuries get surgery right away and rehab for months. Most of them are able to return from the injury eventually, but Alex Smith’s situation was much different.

Smith broke his right tibia and fibula during a tackle in 2018, but that wasn’t the full extent of his injury. The wound became severely infected and almost cost Smith his entire leg. If it got any worse, Smith was even in danger of losing his life.

Along the road to recovery, Smith battled a broken leg, flesh-eating bacteria, and 17 surgeries. The fact that Smith survived and still has a right leg is a minor miracle, but he’s still determined to get back on the football field.

Smith’s injury and the details surrounding it are eerily similar to Theismann’s

Alex Smith and Joe Theismann both broke their right tibia and fibula while playing quarterback for the Washington Redskins. That’s a wild coincidence in itself, but the similarities between the two injuries go much deeper.

Both broken legs occurred in Washington D.C. Well, that’s not too crazy. After all, they both played for Washington at the time, so let’s dig a little deeper. Both injuries occurred on the same date 33 years apart. OK, that’s a little freaky, right? On November 18 in 1985 and 2018, both quarterbacks’ lives changed forever.

Smith and Theismann also both got hurt on the 39-yard line. The photos of both QBs being tended to on the ground look almost the exact same. But we’re not done. Both quarterbacks left the game, and both games finished with the same final score of 23-21.

There are two players in the history of the NFL who have won three Defensive Player of the Year awards — Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt. Taylor made the infamous tackle of Theismann in 1985, while Watt tackled Smith in 2018.

Incredibly, that’s not all. In both games in which the QBs went down, they were missing their Pro Bowl left tackles. Joe Jacoby and Trent Williams weren’t on the field to protect their quarterbacks those two fateful days.

Theismann never played again, and Smith might not either

Joe Theismann was 36 years old at the time of his injury. It was so severe that he never returned to the NFL. Smith was 34 when he suffered his injury, and he’s about to turn 36 this month.

Smith has been feverishly rehabbing for two years. He escaped death with all the issues that accompanied his injury, but he hasn’t been able to return to the field. Most people would count their blessings and walk away after surviving such a scary incident, but Smith is a fierce competitor.

He hasn’t ruled out a return to the NFL, and he’s actively working every day to regain the strength to get behind center again. If his perseverance and work ethic helped him survive and keep his leg in the process, there’s no doubt Smith can find a way to play football again.

As similar to Theismann’s tragic injury as Smith’s was, he’s hoping the ending is the one detail that isn’t the same.