By Mike Calimbas (Writer / BJJ Photographer)
Eve Smith Wasn’t Always “The Wolverine” But Training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Helped Her Find Her Strength, Even After She Was Run Over
DALLAS, TX, August 5, 2013 – When it comes to adversity, most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners are well are of it. After all, the art and sport of BJJ is all about getting pushed, beat up, taken to your limit and surviving. It’s what makes one better. Metaphorically speaking, training BJJ can turn a piece of coal into the shiny diamond that is you on your best day. In short, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can turn someone into a better version of who they once were – and teach them to survive not only on the mats but in life as well.
Take the case of Eve Smith for example…
On May 21, 2010, three year old Eve Smith was crossing her pre-K school parking lot with her mother when a vehicle ran her over after crossing their path. The driver, on the cell phone and not paying attention, had put her car in reverse and knocked Eve to the ground, barely missing her mother in the process. Eve’s mother reached out trying to grab her daughter but could not reach her on time. That one moment when they weren’t holding hands (Eve pulled away) was all it took for tragedy to strike. Eve’s mom pounded and pounded on the vehicle trying desperately to get the driver to stop but it was too late. When the car came to a rest Eve Smith was pinned underneath.
The rest of the scene was filled with tears and 9-11 calls. After being pulled out Eve would eventually be okay but not without a lot of damage done. She suffered 2 broken ribs, Hemothorax, Pneumothorax, Collapsed Lung from one of the ribs, a grade 4 laceration to her spleen, various abrasions on her back from being drug along the pavement as well as Petechiae on her face. She spent 3 days in ICU then 3 more days 3 in a regular room.
That’s a lot to deal with for a little girl, and she was definitely traumatized for a while from the experience. For a year and a half afterwards she was extremely afraid of having anything on top of her and walking through parking lots.
The accident took its toll but eventually she was able to find her strength. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was a big part of that.
A year and a half after the accident Eve would follow her older sister Nina into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She had accompanied her to the gym before but was always too scared to try, until one day she wasn’t. Now the pair train and compete with John Brink, Alex Martins, and crew at Paragon BJJ Dallas.
Like many other kids just starting out Eve had her struggles in the beginning but her instructors were encouraging and to her credit, she never gave up. With time her confidence grew and her fearfulness related to the accident subsided. Training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu shows her that is okay to be nervous and afraid in tough situations. Through her she can see that there are ways to work through them. BJJ has helped her through and through both mentally and physically.
Now, according to her father and as a direct result of her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, Eve Smith has the attitude that she can accomplish anything – or at least go out and try, no matter what it is. Whether it’s walking through parking lots with confidence or competing at the various tournaments in Texas, she is also willing to take on her fear and adversity head on. You’ll see her competing in the big tournaments more often than not and she’s not afraid to take on bigger opponents. She’s actually rather eager to sweep them off her.
If you ask Eve, her main goal is to one day become a black belt army doctor. We think she can get there too. She’s proved in both BJJ and life that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and we look forward to seeing her continue her BJJ journey for a long time to come.
Photos of Eve Smith by Mike Calimbas Photography