Doug Smith

Mental Performance, Trauma, Recovery and Overcoming Adversity Expert

Doug Smith is a retired NHL player whose career spanned over a decade. Picked 2nd choice overall into the NHL, Doug played for the Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, and Pittsburgh Penguins.
When his two daughters were both under two years old, Doug’s professional sports career tragically ended in a headfirst collision resulting in a broken neck and spinal cord injury. Doug’s story of recovery and healing is unforgettable, inspiring and helps people to better understand change.
Author of “The Trauma Code” & “Thriving in Transition” Doug Smith is a thought leader on the subject of change and trauma. In his latest book, “The Trauma Code, unlocking your Mental Performance” Doug delves into his personal story of success and provides concrete actions leaders and employees can use immediately to effect positive change in the workplace.
An accomplished keynote speaker & communicator, Doug Smith presents an innovative solution through his teenage NHL story. The solution helps leaders to become more aware of trauma in their workplace in order to maximize human performance around them.
Doug’s clients are able to use this new understanding and messaging to the benefit of their employees and the performance of their organization today. Doug understands the impact of change, the process of recovery and the rebuilding of personal performance because he has been there.
Award-winning author of ‘Thriving in Transition, How to Turn Adversity into the Opportunity of a Lifetime’ and The Trauma Code, Unlocking Your Performance’, Doug Smith is a thought leader on the subjects of change, trauma, and human performance. As he tells his incredible life story of perseverance and resilience, Doug leaves the audience with a memorable system for better mental health and many fun simple hacks they can use to maximize their personal and professional performance.
Doug’s corporate clients are able to use this understanding and messaging for the benefit of their employees, the performance of their organizations, and their own personal well-being.

Confined in leg braces and diagnosed with rickets as a child, Doug Smith became an elite athlete and avid learner by just age 16. That year Doug played in the Ontario Hockey League as an “underage” and was the Winner of The OHL’s Bobby Smith Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. At 18 years, two weeks old, Doug was the NHL’s 1st round draft choice of the Los Angeles Kings franchise. Chosen 2nd overall, he was the youngest player to have ever played for the LA Kings at that time.

Doug played 607 professional games before a broken neck and high-level spinal cord injury ended his career. Doug understands the impact of change, the process of trauma recovery, and the rebuilding of personal performance because he has been there.

Topic Presentations

After suffering a catastrophic, life-altering, injury while playing professional hockey, former NHLer Doug Smith decided right then and there, that if he survived the impact and physical injuries, he would do better emotionally as a human being. It was in that moment, laying on the ice, that the humble beginnings of System 438 sprang into action.

Doug’s incredible story will leave you, inspired, empowered and more aware. He will explain why and how the impact of emotional trauma combined with the “rate of change” is our ticking time bomb in the workplace today. He will show you how to disarm it. Why and how System 438 can enhance human performance through awareness Trauma can hurt our performance without us being aware it is happening to us.

4 – Awareness: The human species suffers from only 4 types of trauma. 3 types of trauma can be easily seen and felt. One type of trauma we are not well-equipped to see and feel. Doug will show you how to see and feel cumulative emotional trauma, so you can lead with confidence, support using empathy and achieve phenomenal outcomes.

3 – Assessment: What controls us? The subconscious brain controls more than 95% of human functioning. The subconscious brain has only 3 priorities. You will learn what these priorities are.

8 – Performance: Revealed through Doug’s story, you will learn the 8 behaviours and performance fueling actions which he used to feed the 3 priorities of his subconscious brain. Playing the lottery with your emotional performance and the performance of others is not a requirement. There is a systematic approach to better manage emotional state.

Let Doug be your guide to System 438.

"For 20 years, I would get 2 minutes in the penalty box for doing something to someone that you would get 15 years in jail for. To be treated this way psychologically is a form of human conditioning or emotional trauma.” Doug Smith

It was not his physical ability. Smith was unaware of what was happening to him emotionally as a teenager in the NHL. Cumulative emotional trauma would slowly take over his life and his ability to perform as a professional athlete. Today, Doug presents his scientifically supported model which anyone can use to manage trauma more effectively.


 Doug is a spinal cord injury survivor and former NHL first-round draft pick. As an award-winning author of The Trauma Code and Thriving in Transition, Doug has been telling his story of emotional trauma and performance and wowing audiences around the world for over a decade. Doug makes life better for others by turning the confusing and misunderstood topic of “trauma” into a simple and easy-to-understand model and system that anyone can manage with little effort.

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