Transcript for Blind USC football player on helping lead his team to victory: 'It was emotional'
Friday. We have a truly inspirational young man with us. Jake Olson. He plays football for usc and he's blind. We're going to talk to him in just a moment. But first how about Jake's remarkable story. Meet Jake Olson, number 61. Long snapper for the usc trojans making his debut on the feel against western Michigan just weeks ago. The snap is perfect. The kick is up and the kick is good. Reporter: But this was far from your average snap. Jake is blind. Born with Rhett know blastoma. A form of eye cancer. Jake completely lostision by the age of 12. One, two, three. Reporter: A lifelong trojans fan he became close with the team growing up. ESPN's E: 60 following his journey every step of the way. One, two, three. One, two, three. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Reporter: Yearning to get back on the field he set out on a mission trying out for the high school football team his junior year. I thought what position could I play that, you know, wouldn't require me to have sight. Came upon long snapper and I was like, ooh, okay. It's all feel. I said, oh, my gosh, there's no way this kid is ever going to, you know, learn how to snap. Reporter: But Jake's determination did not waiver. After relentless practice, he landed a spot on the field. The kick is up and it is perfect. Reporter: And after graduating with honors in 2015, Jake was off to his dream school, usc. You looked around the campus and just the massiveness of it and sure enough there's Jake's trusted guide dog and it was like that's all he had, you know. And as a parent you got to let go. Reporter: A story of heart, resolve and proof that dreams can come true. Now watch me fight harder than I ever have. Number 61 in your program but number one in your heart. Jake Olson. Oh, my gosh. Jake, how you been? Thank you, robin. Thank you. Tell me, what does it feel like, that moment. A long time waiting. As a trojans fan growing up and obviously going to usc, becoming part of the football team and practicing for two years and finally gave me my unopportunity out there. I try to suppress them during the snap. You know, I needed to focus on the job. Obviously I was out there to do, but just the pure bliss and just knowing that I accomplished a goal. I was able to give Trojan nation and really the entire sports world just a message of inspiration and hope was just something I knew the significance of it and it was just something very special. I'm telling you, you were ready for that moment, my man. It was dead on. It was spot-on. Everyone was excited. Your dad, we heard him in the piece. Yes. I've never seen him more happy. He was just -- he was just so excited. It was awesome. How do you do it? You know, 12 years old. You lose your sight and everybody has got something and youant whatted to get back on the field right away and such resiliency, so what is your message for people who face some obstacles in life? You know, I'll never tell anyone life is fair. Everyone is dealt with unfair set of cards in some way, somehow but I do tell them that at the end of the day it's your decision and it really is up to you how far you want to push yourself and what you're willing to do and I say the only thing that can stop you in life is you and I think there's so many times where people will find excuses and point to a, B and C saying he or she said I can't do this and at the end of the day it's shameful when you focus on those things and not on the things you do have and can utilize to achieve your goals. How did you -- I know there had to be some really low points. So how did you personally lift yourself up and not stay in that state? I mean, there's lots of hard times. I battled cancer for 12 years. And then to be told as a 12-year-old you're going to have to live the rest of your life without sight was devastating and, you know, there's a lot of sad and hard types but in those times I made sure to trust in my faith, you know, knowing god had a plan for me. I had a beautiful support system with my friends and family and honestly, I tell people, it would be really pathetic on my part if I focused just on what I didn't have and my eyesight. I have an athletic body and I have a great mine, I can go study and play sports still and have so many opportunities to be just focused on the one thing losing my eyesight and to be held up and sit there and feel sorry for myself and feel angry and sad all the time would be pathetic. It would hold me back in life and I really wanted to make sure that blindness and going through cancer was not going to stop me in life so being grateful is another thing that really just helped me move on and accept my reality of not being able to see. It does not define you at all. We will have you back and you'll show us your skis and when we come back, he's going to play golf too. He's going to be coming back.
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