Injured UGA photographer back in action at SEC Championship game

UGA intern Chamberlain Smith shoots a photo of Georgia coach Kirby Smart coming onto the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. It's her first game back since she was injured in a sideline collision at Auburn on Nov. 16. (Chip Towers/ctowers@ajc.com)

Lawrence Cager won’t play for the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, but Chamberlain Smith is back in action.

Smith is the UGA intern who was injured in a sideline collision with Georgia’s Brian Herrien while photographing the Bulldogs’ game against Auburn on Nov. 16. Smith, who is employed by UGA’s Sports Communications office, suffered a concussion and a black eye from the incident, which brought her attention, most of it unwanted.

“As someone who studied journalism and works in that field now, it’s been very weird to be part of the story now,” Smith said before Georgia played LSU in the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. “I’m not a big fan of the spotlight, so it’s been a little overwhelming. But I do appreciate everyone reaching out and being so kind.”

Several national TV news teams reached out to Smith for interviews in the day following the accident, which was replayed in a seemingly endless loop that weekend. But Smith declined in favor of staying incognito.

Herrien, the senior Georgia running back, was unable to avoid running into Smith and her camera as she knelt on the Bulldogs’ sideline around the 20-yard line that day. At the last second he tried to jump over Smith, but his knee caught her camera and her face.

Smith was knocked unconscious. After coming to, she was carefully loaded onto a backboard and transported to a local hospital, where she was treated and released. Herrien and quarterback Jake Fromm were among the Georgia players who reached out to her.

Back in action for the first time since, Smith said she was anxious about being back on the sidelines today. She said she’ll probably even shoot from her knees, as she was doing that day.

“A lot of times that’s a better angle when you get a little lower,” Smith said. “I think it’s just making sure that you’re super aware of your surroundings. That’s the most important thing if you’re on your feet or your knees. You’ll see a lot of photographers doing that today.”

Chamberlain Smith (R) poses with fellow UGA photography intern Tony Walsh on the field before Saturday's game. (Chip Towers/ctowers@ajc.com)

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