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Jaylon Smith: Battling The Uncontrollable

The Dallas Cowboys provided a jaw-dropping moment in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, when they decided to write linebacker Jaylon Smith’s name down on their draft card.

Why in the world would they draft a linebacker so highly when there’s a chance he may have to sit out the entire 2016 season?

Cowboys Headlines - Jaylon Smith: Battling The Uncontrollable 2Well, Smith’s selection is based more on his future potential and that he can fully recover from a devastating knee injury that also caused nerve damage.

If he can fully recover and become the player he was at Notre Dame, then the Cowboys would’ve drafted a player that is arguably the best defensive player in the entire 2016 NFL Draft.

Can you say draft day steal?

I for one am rooting for Jaylon Smith and I’m personally praying for a full 100% recovery. This goes beyond what he can potentially do on the field for the Dallas Cowboys. To me, it’s more about seeing Smith win a battle that is completely out of his control.

I know a little something about facing a battle that is uncontrollable and completely out of your hands. I actually kind of feel a connection to what Jaylon is going through, having faced a similar situation myself.

You see, I was in an accident a little over 12 years ago in which I broke my C2 and C3 vertebrae and ended up being paralyzed from the chest down. So, I know what it’s like to go through rehab trying to get the nerves to regenerate themselves and fire up once again.

Cowboys Headlines - Jaylon Smith: Battling The Uncontrollable 3
(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

There is absolutely nothing you can do to physically repair the damage and it takes a huge toll on you mentally, especially for someone like Jaylon Smith who has probably never faced a physical obstacle he couldn’t overcome in his entire life.

It looks as if Smith will be able to make a full recovery from his anterior and lateral collateral knee injury, but it’s his peroneal nerve that is the major concern. It prevents him from moving his foot from side to side or lifting it up and down. It is commonly referred to as drop foot.

There really is no timetable for when the peroneal nerve may recover, but based on my research I think I can give you a somewhat educated idea.

Nerves regrow at about 1 inch per month after a one month lag time and Jaylon Smith’s injury area is approximately 6 inches above the muscle that was paralyzed when the peroneal nerve was damaged. Smith is approximately six months out of surgery and still has at the very least a few months of recovery time ahead of him.

Even though Smith still has a long road of recovery ahead of him, he has been soaking up as much information during the Dallas Cowboys OTA and mini-camp practices. He has also been putting in time in the weight room, but it’s probably his attendance in the meeting rooms that have benefited him the most so far.

Cowboys Headlines - Jaylon Smith: Battling The Uncontrollable 1Jaylon Smith can only do so much because he is still limited to what he can do physically in the weight room and on the practice field, but the mental aspect of the game is something that he is taking very seriously.

In fact, with fellow linebacker Sean Lee also observing these OTA and mini-camp practices, Smith has been in his hip pocket and picking his brain every chance he gets. He has become Lee’s second shadow and I can’t think of a better mentor for him to learn how to prepare like a professional.

“You have a great group of guys in front of you, “Smith said. “I’m definitely learning a lot from Sean Lee, picking his brain each and every day. But for me, it’s just learning the system, getting acclimated to my surroundings. When I’m back out there, it’s going to be elite.”

Sean Lee is almost like having another coach on the field, but a coach that is still currently playing the game and knows exactly how to prepare when recovering from an injury.

There may not be a better sounding board for Jaylon Smith to have at his disposal other than Sean Lee, and I can’t tell you how much of a benefit that may be to Smith’s recovery.

As fans, we are all hoping that he can get back on the field sooner rather than later, but it’s a process that takes time and can’t be rushed.

From what I’ve learned about Jaylon Smith, I’m absolutely positive that he has the right mental makeup and determination to do everything in his power to get back on the field, but it’s an uncontrollable battle that he’s facing.

How much are you hoping Jaylon Smith is able to make a full recovery?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to voice your thoughts and opinions. I look forward to discussing this topic with you further.

What do you think?

Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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