IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

NFL player's family celebrates his remarkable comeback from life-threatening injury

Washington quarterback Alex Smith has been activated off the physically unable to perform list, nearly two years after suffering a gruesome injury to his right leg.
/ Source: TODAY

Nearly two years after suffering a gruesome, life-threatening injury to his right leg, quarterback Alex Smith has been cleared for full football activity by his team — and his family couldn't be happier for him.

The NFL's Washington Football Team announced Sunday that Smith had been activated off the physically unable to perform list. The celebration in Smith's household began a day earlier.

In an Instagram video shared by his wife, Elizabeth Smith, on Saturday, the football player is ambushed by a shower of champagne and giggles. She also shared a photo of a chocolate cake that featured a football helmet and a figure with crutches on top.

Watch TODAY All Day! Get the best news, information and inspiration from TODAY, all day long.

“The video I posted last night was our family celebrating the hard work, determination and fight Alex has shown to get where he is,” Elizabeth Smith wrote Sunday on Twitter. “An example to our kids to NEVER give up. Every obstacle that has been placed in front of him has been shattered.”

Alex Smith
Smith played for the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs before joining Washington in 2018.Don Juan Moore / Getty Images

Alex Smith, 36, broke his right fibula and tibia during a game against the Houston Texans in November 2018. The situation worsened during his stay in the hospital, as Smith developed an infection that almost cost him his leg and his life. His recovery was the subject of an ESPN documentary, "Project 11," that aired in May.

Though he had been cleared for full football activity by his surgical team before the current training camp, Washington placed him on the physically unable to perform list.

But now, 21 months after suffering the injury, Smith will be able to resume padded practices with the team beginning this week.

"In the bigger aspect of life, I'm 36 years old," Smith said Monday in a conversation with Washington senior VP of media and content Julie Donaldson, according to NBC Washington. "I have the rest of my life in front of me. And selfishly, I'm even doing this for that, as crazy as that sounds. I know if I can go out there and play quarterback, I can do anything else in life."