Jake Olson | Victor Benoun

Victor Benoun


I was watching ESPN College Game Day recently and was moved by a wonderful story about a young man named Jake Olson. When Jake was one year old he lost an eye to cancer. His young years were spent battling the disease. When he turned 13 he suffered another crushing blow. He lost his other eye as well.


At 13 years of age, Jake was blind. He would never again be able to see his parents, his friends and loved ones. His passion

in life is football. He loved to watch and play, and he would never be able to see another football game again.

The day of the surgery was an emotional one for all involved. Through tears he told his family it was going to be okay, that this is just a new chapter of his life. He was the brave one.

Six days after the surgery he left the hospital to begin a new life. He adapted to his new situation and returned to school and to be with his friends and family.

Here is the extraordinary part: Jake learned to play football even though he became blind. He focused his other senses to compensate for his lack of sight, using sound in particular to know where the ball and other players are.

Fast forward a few years and now in high school, Jake is the long snapper on punts. He plays in actual games! He has such a strong support system with his team mates and coaches that they want him there because Jake doesn’t view himself as handicapped. He is an inspiration to those around him.

People are capable of greatness when we allow ourselves. We can be amazing when we seize the opportunity. Jake has proven this. You don’t need extreme circumstances to discover your power or ability. You just have to decide on what you want and then go for it. This is your moment, this is your year, this is your time!