The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Game Night Online

October 12, 2012

Injuries can't slow Lewisburg star

DANVILLE — He didn’t know it at the time, but Brandon Smith came to realize that a back injury last year that threatened to end his outstanding high school football career was actually an opportunity.

And it had nothing to do with football.

At first, it was a bit annoying.

After a second medical opinion cleared Smith to play football rather than undergo season- and possibly career-ending back surgery, the questions kept coming.

After every game, someone from the media would want to talk about his injury.

“Everyone started out by talking about my back instead of talking about the game,” he recalled. “I was getting frustrated about that, but, about halfway through the season, I realized that it gave me an opportunity to talk about God, and to be thankful.”

The deeply religious teenager, who never misses a chance to give glory to God, was missing more chances to do just that.

“It wasn’t something I was intimidated about, it just never really crossed my mind,” he said.

His friends and teammates knew about his strong religious beliefs, but now, because of an injury, more people learned another side of this outstanding athlete.

“I thank God for every day I get out there. I know what it’s like to sit out and it’s not fun. I thank God for every practice I get, every game. I think I definitely pray a lot more in games than in practice, that the team would be safe and that we have calm nerves and able to honor God by our performance,” he said.

Over the years, he said, friends have joked with him about his beliefs, but never in a nasty way.

They would say things like “Oh, I can’t do that because Smith is watching me,” he said.

“But no one really tries to put me down,” he said.

Well, opposing defenses have tried, but Smith doesn’t go down without a fight.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior has played tight end, wide receiver and now fullback on offense, defensive end and now linebacker on defense, as well as special teams.

Every defensive coordinator has No. 42 on his radar, game-planning to do what little can be done to slow him down.

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