NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — News 8 first met the smiling 17-year-old Griffin Smith playing his favorite sport last year in a wheelchair.
Smith, a recent Noblesville High School graduate, is back on his feet after suffering a rare spinal injury. At the time, doctors told Smith his chances of walking again were slim. What caused his injury remains unknown, but it was a diagnosis he never fully accepted.
Since the last time News 8 saw Smith, he turned 18, graduated high school and got his drivers license, all things he did while defying the odds and walking again.
“As soon as I got off those crutches and I went to a cane … I could focus on my balance a whole lot more and not rely on something to keep me up,” Smith said.
He even took a major step forward when he walked across the stage to get his diploma at graduation. That walk may have marked the end of Smith’s time at Noblesville High School and even his lacrosse career, but it also led him down a new path.
“I was actually offered to coach my high school team,” Smith said.
After his experience, he said the most important lessons he’ll pass to his players won’t have anything to do with the game.
“Not just be like, ‘Aww I gotta be there,’ but be like, ‘I get to go to these things, like I’m blessed to be able to go to these practices,'” Smith said.
Negativity has never been Smith’s thing, especially when it comes from someone else.
“What I wanna say to all those people is don’t doubt somebody because of the statistics, let them do what they want to do and don’t say they can’t do something,” Smith said.
Smith won’t go to college right away. Instead, he will stay home, coach his team and focus on getting stronger.