A blind football player at the University of Southern California helped lead his team to victory earlier this month, and now he’s opening up about his remarkable story.
Jake Olson, 20, the team’s long snapper, made his debut as a Trojan in a game against Western Michigan University.
Late in the fourth quarter, Olson snapped for an extra point. The Trojans won the game 49-31.
“It was emotional,” Olson said today on “Good Morning America.”
He added, “Just the pure bliss and just knowing that I accomplished a goal, I was able to give Trojan nation and really the entire sports world a message of inspiration and hope.”
Olson, now a junior at USC, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma when he was 1 year old and lost one of his eyes. The cancer came back eight times.
In 2009, at the age of 12, doctors told Olson he would lose his other eye.
“I’ll never tell anyone that life is fair,” Olson said. “Everyone is dealt with an unfair set of cards in some way … but I do tell them that at the end of the day, it’s your decision.”
“To sit there and feel sorry for myself and be angry… it would be pathetic,” he continued. “It would hold me back in life. I really wanted to make sure that blindness and going through cancer was not going to stop me…and so, being grateful is another thing that really just helped me move on to accept my reality of not being able to see.”
Before he completely lost his vision at age 12, Jake told his parents that he wanted to see one last USC Trojans game. His wish reached then-Trojan head coach, Pete Carroll, and Olson became a part of the Trojans family long before he joined the team.
Olson set a mission to play on his high school football team and tried out in his junior year at Lutheran High School of Orange County.
“I wanted to be out there so badly and so I started thinking what position could I play that wouldn’t require me to have sight,” he said. “And then came upon long snapper. I was like, ‘Whoa, okay, yeah it’s all feel.'”