College Football is only one week in and we’ve already got the feel good story of the season.
After a late game touchdown sealed Southern California’s victory over Western Michigan on Saturday, September 2, the Trojans trotted on the field for the extra point attempt but this PAT was unlike any before it.
USC head coach Clay Helton called the number of long snapper Jake Olson, and the Sophomore – blind since the age of 12 – delivered a perfect snap.
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
“I loved being out there,” Olson said following the contest. “It was an awesome feeling, something that I’ll remember forever, getting to snap at USC as a football player.”
The inspirational moment generated cheers from fans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and caught fire on social media with seemingly anyone and everyone giving the young man props including former Trojan and current Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.
That was really cool to see. Jake Olsen, a blind long snapper for USC, with a perfect snap on a PAT. What an inspiration! #fighton ✌🏼
— Clay Matthews III (@ClayMatthews52) September 3, 2017
Olson’s snap was an example of sportsmanship at its best as Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester revealed to USA Today that Helton approached him in the week leading up to the game about the possibility of Olson appearing in the game.
“I give him all the credit,” Lester said. “That’s not an easy conversation. He was just being honest about a player he really cared for. He said he was gonna call every coach and just hope he gets it done. … He was just very nice in asking and he said he understood if I didn’t want to do it. He wasn’t forcing it down my throat, by any means.
“I didn’t think it was a hard decision at all. It was bigger than the game. I was happy to be a part of it.”
To those who follow the USC football program, Olson’s name should be very familiar. Diagnosed with retinoblastoma at birth, Jake batted battled the rare form of eye cancer numerous times until losing his sight when he was twelve.
After catching wind of his story, then-USC head coach Pete Carroll opened his program to Jake and his family. ESPN chronicled his experience with the team in 2009.
The day after his college football debut, Olson reflected in a Twitter post in which he thanked his family, coaches Helton and Carroll and the entire Trojan nation for a moment he’ll never forget.
“It means the world to me knowing that I can and have inspired many through this experience. Fight On!” he wrote.
Thanks for all the love and support Trojan Nation! See below for a longer statement. Beat The Farm! pic.twitter.com/RXZKBz1r5U
— Jake Olson (@JakeOlson61) September 3, 2017
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(Photo Credit: Twitter/@JakeOlson61)