USC helped Jake Olson fulfil his dream on Saturday as the blind long snapper made his debut for the Trojans.
Olson, a lifelong USC fan, has been blind since the age of 12 because of a rare form of retinal cancer but has been around the Trojans program since 2009, when then coach Pete Carroll heard about his story and his love for the team.
And Olson, who lost his left eye before his first birthday, got his shot in the fourth quarter of USC’s 49-31 win over Western Michigan.
In what had been a tight game throughout, USC pulled away late and, after an interception return for a touchdown by USC safety Marvel Tell with just over three minutes remaining in the game, coach Clay Helton sent Olson out as the long snapper for the extra point.
After Chase McGrath’s successful kick, a smiling Olson was mobbed by team-mates, who then guided him to the sideline.
This is anything but a regular PAT.
Jake Olson, blind since age 12, just snapped for the first time in a live game. https://t.co/amyHcFoVue
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 3, 2017
“There’s a beauty in it,” Olson said afterwards. “If you can’t see how God works things out, then I think you’re the blind one.
“I just loved being out there. It was an awesome feeling, something that I’ll remember forever. Getting to snap at USC as a football player… I’m trying to say as much as I can, because I can’t quite believe it yet.”
Father Brian Olson said: “It’s surreal. Absolutely surreal. To have a situation where a 12-year-old kid is losing his sight, to take a situation that ugly and fast forward eight years and be able to snap on the football field for a team that really helped him get through that time is beautiful and special.”
Prior to making his bow, Olson’s first taste of college football had come during USC’s spring game in 2016, when he had two successful snaps on field goal attempts.
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