Jake Olson | Have you heard of this incredible blind football player?

It’s almost Super Bowl weekend. The anticipation is building and football fever is well underway. To mark the occasion, we’re taking a look back at one of our favorite football stories: Jake Olson, the first blind long-snapper in college football. 

“I lost sight in my left eye before the age of one. For the next twelve years, I battled cancer in my right eye 8 times. Seven times I beat it. When it came back for the eighth time, there was nothing I could do. I was going to go blind,” Jake explains

Despite being dealt this unimaginably difficult hand in childhood, Jake Olson didn’t let it define him. He broke boundaries as a footballer, representing the University of Southern California at the Division One level, and has now devoted his life to helping others, through his charitable foundation and public speaking. 

Jake Olson Blind football player
Jake Olson and Pete Carroll

But his connection to the USC Trojans began long before he played for them. Having supported them as a child, he was given a remarkable opportunity shortly before he went blind.

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“Pete Carroll, the head coach, heard about my story and invited me up to a practice. I had no idea that Coach Carroll intended to make me a part of the Trojan family, and that watching this practice was only the beginning of a relationship that would change my life forever.”

Jake Olson Blind football player1
Jake Olson in action.

Jake’s isn’t our only inspiring football story. From the trailblazing Sam Gordon, whose viral highlight reel inspired her to found an all-girls tackle football league for teenagers in Utah, to Myron Rolle, the ex-NFL player turned Havard and Oxford University-educated neurosurgeon. 

For now, enjoy the Super Bowl, and keep your eyes peeled for more inspiring football stories right here at GBS!

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