The University of Southern California Trojans have a long-snapper named Jake Olson, and he’s been a part of the program since he was 12 years old as former coach Pete Carroll embraced him and his family as he began to lose his eyesight.
Olson suffered from retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer, and he’s now 20 years old and blind. As of Saturday night, he’s also officially played in a live college football game, as you can marvel at in the video below.
As the Los Angeles Times recounts, USC coach Clay Helton called Western Michigan coach Tim Lester this week to ask for a favor.
Wrote the Times:
The Broncos needed to know that they might be facing a blind center so they could respond with the appropriate sensitivity.
So on Thursday, Helton called Lester and offered to make a most unique deal. The Trojans would not rush the Broncos’ first extra-point attempt if the Broncos would not rush an extra-point attempt involving Olson.
“Coach Helton told me what the kid meant to the team, I told him we’d be happy to be part of it,” Lester said.
So, indeed, after Western Michigan scored its first touchdown on a four-yard run by Jamauri Bogan midway through the first quarter, even though the extra point would tie the score at 7-7, the Trojans backed off.
And here’s how Olson performed in the final few minutes of the Trojans win against Western Michigan as the Broncos returned the favor of not rushing the kick.
Afterward, Helton had this to say: “What a pressure player. Is that not a perfect snap at that moment? It’s beyond words.”
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) September 3, 2017
After the game, Olson called the moment “beautiful.” It’s impossible to disagree.