Jake Olson

Blind USC Football Longsnapper‎, First Completely Blind Football Player to Play in a Division I Game

Jake Olson was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma in both eyes at the age of eight months and forfeited his left eye to that cancer. Over the next twelve years, he battled cancer in his right eye eight times. Seven times he beat it. When it came back for the eighth time, there was nothing he could do. His right eye was surgically removed and Jake had to re-learn how to do basic things that were once so easy; putting toothpaste on his toothbrush, food on his fork, or walking around his house would all require significant relearning and much more effort. Although he first viewed going blind as his biggest setback, it ended up being his life’s biggest set up.

Jake became the first Division 1 blind collegiate athlete to play in a game as a long snapper for USC, under head coach Pete Carroll. He also became the first blind golfer on the PGA Tour. He is an entrepreneur, has also authored 2 books, and is a motivational speaker.

In this episode you will hear:

  • Believe in yourself. If you fail, oh well. Learn from it and keep going.
  • I couldn’t help but think; with 70-80 years left of living, I won’t be able to see my wedding and my kids.
  • Blindness doesn’t mean you have to stop living; it just meant that you learn a different way of living.
  • I made the decision that blindness was not going to stop me from anything.
  • I wasn’t going to let blindness rob me of a meaningful & purposeful life.
  • When you face major things at a young age, you build resiliency really fast.
  • When things are a lot different, by no means does it have to ruin your life.
  • Don’t cheapen yourself with excuses. Know your value.
  • It’s so gratifying when you do well because you put the work in, showing yourself what you’re capable of doing.
  • You can eventually do it.
  • Never quit. Choose not to give up. 
  • Live your life. Move on – and keep pushing forward.
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