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Brad Smith’s Path to Pro Lacrosse Debut Not as Easy as One Foot in Front of the Other

By Marisa Ingemi | Jul 16, 2020

Brad Smith is hoping this time, he gets his professional lacrosse career off on the right foot.

The Duke alum was slated to play for the Whipsnakes last season before finding out at the end of his college career he had been playing with a broken foot, sidelining him for the rest of the year.

A year and a championship later, Smith is set to be a strong addition to the Whipsnakes.

“It was tough because I didn’t know the extent of the recovery process,” said Smith, who spent the last year recovering from foot surgery. “I knew in the middle of my college season something was going on. It turned out I broke my foot and wouldn’t be able to go play. Every time I went to the doctor it seemed like it was getting (worse).”

Smith finished his prolific career at Duke with 175 points from 87 goals and 88 assists in 74 games. He brings a ton of offensive prowess to a Whipsnakes team that’s already deep in the attack area.

“I got to go to the sidelines for one of the games (in 2019),” said Smith. “But it was tough sitting out and watching while my team was playing, but I had to tough that out.”

Smith has had time to rehab since last spring, but like everyone else, had to get creative to get in lacrosse shape during quarantine.

He’s gotten lucky having a little bit of help from home.

“What’s helped is everybody is going through the same thing here,” said Smith of his quarantine experience. “I’m lucky I have workout equipment so I could have access to that, it hasn’t been too tough. My younger brother is a rising junior at Duke and he’s a goalie, so that’s perfect.”

The Mountain Lakes, New Jersey native will compete for a role on a team that features the likes of Matt Rambo, Jay Carlson, and newcomer Zed Williams in what’s sure to be a competitive battle following a ton of turnover.

That’s something Smith is prepared for; the unit he had a hand in with the Blue Devils was deep as well, where he rose to the top of an attack group that included Sean Lowrie and Joey Manown while he also was versatile enough to come in from the midfield.

That versatility could be what gives him a big role for the Whipsnakes.

“It’s the best competition in the world,” said Smith. “All the best players, excited to get on that stage. I can’t even remember how long I’ve wanted to play professional lacrosse. All the other best players are there, it’s an honor.”

Since he was a kid, Smith dreamed of donning a professional lacrosse uniform. That dream should have been realized a year ago if not for his foot injury.

The dream was delayed, but not dead; he’ll get a chance to realize it at the Championship Series in Utah as a part of the second-ever Whipsnakes team.

The only difference is, this time it’ll be in a bubble.

“I wanted to make sure (the foot) felt good before I pushed it,” he said. “I’ve worked hard to get in shape and get up to a playing level again.”

When Smith finally makes his pro lacrosse debut it’ll be cathartic, even if it’s in different circumstances than anyone could have imagined it.

After a year delay, though, Smith is just ready to get going.

“I’m excited, I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “I’m going to play my part and looking forward to competing again. I’ll do whatever it takes, after the last year not being able to compete in the sport I love, anything I have to do, I’ll do it.”

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