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Jake Olson lost his left eye to cancer when he was ten months old. Years later, at risk of losing sight in his other eye, he wanted to watch as much USC football as he could before surgery. Pete Carroll, the head coach of the Trojans at the time, invited Jake to ride on the team bus and attend practice the eve before his operation — all of which buoyed the boy’s spirits.

Ultimately, Jake was rendered entirely blind, but he kept an unrelenting positive attitude about what lay ahead.

''I saw a light, like white — kind of feels like white light. I heard my mom and dad talking which really comforted me. I really didn't feel sorrow. It's already happened, I can move on, I can do whatever I want. I don't have to worry about that day coming. It's already happened.''

— Jake Olson, on losing his eye sight


Attending Orange Lutheran High School, Jake got the urge to play the sport that he enjoyed in childhood. The football coach, reluctant at first, eventually allowed Jake to try out at long snapper and the tenacious teen made the team.


After graduating with a 4.3 grade-point average, Jake earned a Swim With Mike scholarship to attend the University of Southern California and keep alive a faint hope of continuing to participate on the gridiron. The Trojans current coach, Steve Sarkisian, has left no wiggle room as to his vision for Jake contributing to the team’s success.

''Someday, he's going to snap in a game for us. When? I don't know. But it will happen. When that day comes, it will be awesome.''

— Steve Sarkisian, on Jake Olson