ECU long snapper Tripp Smith has worked hard to return to the football field after beating Cancer

Tripp Smith has overcome stage four Hodgkins-Lymphoma this year
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 10:08 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - ECU football season opener is almost here. The long snapper is not usually the talking point heading into the opening game. Usually, the long snapper is only mentioned when mistakes happen. Well ECU has a special one who deserves recognition for a different reason. Tripp Smith has overcome stage four Hodgkins-Lymphoma this year to get back to the football field.

“Coming into summer I had some ITT scans just to make sure I was clear before coming in and I am,” says ECU long snapper Tripp Smith, “Feeling healthier than ever. Can’t ask for much more honestly.”

ECU long snapper Tripp Smith missed last season after his Cancer diagnosis.

“Last year at about this time I was 160 pounds and now I am about 230,” says Smith.

“To just look at him physically now, from where he was, it is just unbelievable,” says ECU Special Teams Coordinator Tim Daoust.

Smith went through the chemotherapy process and was found to be cancer-free of Hodgkins-Lymphoma in January.

Tripp told us then he would be back to play for ECU this fall.

“Back then I was really weak. I was squating 100 pounds struggling,” says Smith, “Now I’m throwing higher numbers like 300 and it is a lot easier for me.”

He was back at fall camp for day one ready to go.

“Focusing on getting back and getting used to the pace of game,” says Smith, “It’s just a lot to get used to at once.”

“Getting back into his groove as he told me this week on the practice field,” says Daoust, “Flashes of you are the most talented guy you just have to get back into consistent behavior.”

Smith moving closer to form each day. There are a lot of strong football players on the ECU Pirates this year, but their long snapper might be their toughest.

“That kid’s strength and optimism,” says Daoust, “I mean he never batted an eye as he went through his personal battles last year. I’m extremely proud of that kid.”

“Made me realize that I had a stronger ability to recover than I thought I did, " More mental will power that I realized I had.”