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USC Trojans long snapper Jake Olson posted a statement on Twitter Sunday after he entered Saturday’s 49-31 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos.
Thanks for all the love and support Trojan Nation! See below for a longer statement. Beat The Farm! https://t.co/RXZKBz1r5U
Olson, who has been blind since the age of 12, delivered the snap for USC’s extra-point attempt in the fourth quarter after Marvell Tell III’s pick-six in the fourth quarter to put the Trojans ahead 48-31. The Pac-12 Network shared a replay of the point-after touchdown:
This is anything but a regular PAT. Jake Olson, blind since age 12, just snapped for the first time in a live game. https://t.co/amyHcFoVue
According to ESPN.com’s Kyle Bonagura, Olson was born with retinoblastoma. Doctors removed his left eye when he was 11 months old and lost his vision altogether when doctors removed his right eye when he was 12.
Olson had been a fan of the Trojans, and prior to his second surgery, Pete Carroll, who coached USC at the time, arranged to have Olson visit team practices, tour team facilities and speak with the players. He watched the Trojans practice the night before the second surgery on his right eye.
“He really just kind of let me be part of the team,” Olson said of the former Trojans coach, per Tony Drovetto of the Seattle Seahawks’ official website. “Just knowing that he cared that much, not only about me, but all kids, people, and in his interactions with the team. That was something that really left kind of a mark in my life. … Whenever I think about doing stuff for others, I think, well, ‘What would Coach Carroll do?'”
Bonagura reported first-year USC head coach Clay Helton left open the possibility of Olson serving as USC’s long snapper in the future. The Huntington Beach, California, native is a redshirt sophomore this season.