Smith: "By no means do I feel like my story is something that should be glorified or made to be more then it was. I feel given my quick thinking and acting, the training I had received, and some luck, I ended up with just the right combination that saved my life. However with that said, I think my story can be an inspiration to people from all walks of life. Given my turn of events, I have been able to experience the benefits of hard work, mental toughness, having faith, being positive and much more at a young age. All these things are life skills people learn over the course of a lifetime, and I was able to learn them all in only seven months at just age 19. This summer was by far the lowest point in my life, and in a few months with the right attitude, drive, belief, it soon became some of the best in my life. I am blessed to have had this experience; it is something that has changed my entire outlook. I have been given a second chance, a clean slate and with this I have tried to make the best of myself in every aspect of life. People should take this and use this as motivation and apply it to their own struggles. If anything good came from this accident, let it be this:
"All things in life are possible with the right mindset and a strong a belief. Never feel bad for yourself, there will always be someone who has it worse than you do. Never settle, there is no limit for a motivated individuals potential. Finally, never let someone tell you that you cannot do something, only you know what you're truly capable of. If you want something bad enough you will go to the extreme, give all you have to make that a reality ... the question is how badly do you want it? This is the part that I am most grateful for, the realization of just that."
Question: Finally, what would you like to say to the folks who supported you, prayed for you, asked about you, etc., over the last seven months? Smith: "If I said thank you to each individual person who has reached out to me in the last six months that wouldn't be enough. If I said thank you every day to each of them, it still wouldn't be enough. The support of friends, family, teammates, the people of Big Blue Nation, and most of all the complete strangers, their support is what made this all possible. Literally, complete strangers have reached out to me through the Facebook, Twitter, mail, news sources, etc and have shared stories and concern for me. This provided the fuel to motivate me each and every day.
"Some people are not given second chances like this, and I was surely not going to waste mine. My way of giving back to the people who played a significant role in my recovery was by way of actions, walking again, going back to school, cheering on the sidelines at games, and finally helping bring home national championship 19 to UK. That was my gift and way of saying thank you to all the great people who have given me so much in the past year. I am forever thankful."