Jake Olson has been part of USC for quite some time. The incoming freshman was born with retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer in the retina, that took both of his eyes by the age of 12. This didn't stop the avid Trojan fan from living his dreams.
After hearing about Olson's battle with cancer, then head coach Pete Carroll invited Olson and his family to come meet the team. In 2009, Olson made the trek to the USC before a practice where he was able to meet with the team, including shaking hands with Matt Barkley and spending time with his favorite player center Kristofer O'Dowd. Olson spent the next year at practices and on the sidelines cheering on his favorite team.
Olson was awarded the Swim with Mike scholarship, which is gifted annually from the Physically Challenged Athletes fund. The scholarship is named after former USC swimmer Mike Nyeholt, who was paralyzed after a tragic motorcycle accident. Every April, hundreds of USC students wake up in the early hours of the morning for an all day swim-a-thon in honor of the former Trojan. This year's event raised over $950,00.
As a student at Orange Lutheran high school, Olson had a 4.3 GPA and played varsity athletics for both the football and golf teams, never letting his loss of vision get between him and his love for sports. Olson was the long snapper for the football team during his final two years at the school and was able to play golf with the help of his father, Brian Olson.
Along with his twin sister, Olson will attend USC in the fall, hoping to join the football team in some capacity. Head coach Steve Sarkisian has gone on record to say he hopes Olson will play in a game for the Trojans.
"Someday, he's going to snap in a game for us," Sarkisian told the Los Angeles Times. "When? I don't know. But it will happen."
H/T: LA Times