Pete Carroll ‘Couldn’t Stop Crying’ Watching Blind Long-Snapper Play For USC
Jake Olson, the blind USC long snapper, brought Seattle Seahawks and former USC head coach Pete Carroll to tears during last weekend's season opener.
Carroll befriended Olson just a few years after he lost his eyesight due to retinal cancer at 12 years old. Carroll used to invite Olson to hang around the Trojans in 2009. On the final day before Olson underwent surgery that would leave him blind, he elected to attend a Trojans football practice.
Olson made his debut on Saturday but has been practicing with USC for two years. He is on the roster through a scholarship for disabled athletes.
"“Jake is a huge story. He is one for all of us about courage and character, grit and vision and special qualities that few people would be able to hold onto. He is going to be a big factor and we are all going to see him do a lot of stuff in this world and there is nothing holding Jake back. I was so excited to see it, I couldn’t stop crying. It was thrilling. It was good to see a Trojan win too, but it was really something," Carroll told reporters. “I would have imagined that Jake would have been dreaming about playing for the Trojans, but the fact that it could ever come true, I would have not have thought that was possible. But then again, it’s Jake, so anything’s possible"
Watch Olson play below:
Olson also posted an Instagram photo thanking Pete Carroll for his support.
Yesterday I was fortunate enough to achieve a lifelong dream and snap in a game for the USC Trojans. I cannot possibly thank all the people who have played a role in making this happen, but there are some people who I feel deserve special shout-outs. Mom, Dad, and Emma, none of this would have been possible without you guys. You have always been there for me, and there is simply no way I would be where I am today without your love and support. I am beyond blessed to have such an amazing family. Coaches Helton and Baxter, thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to show what I can do. You push me every day on the field, and I am lucky to have you as coaches and mentors. To all my teammates, especially my special teams unit, thank you for being there for me and allowing me to feel so comfortable as a member of the team. To my friends, thank you for always supporting me and helping me get where I need to go. To Coach Carroll, none of this would have been possible without you. If you hadn’t made me a member of the Trojan Family when I was 12, I don’t know where my life would be. You are a special person, and I will be forever thankful for your generosity. Yesterday was a big day in my life, and I am hoping it’s the first of many, so stay tuned. Thank you everyone. It means the world to me knowing that I can and have inspired many through this experience. #fighton✌️
"To Coach Carroll, none of this would have been possible without you," Olson wrote. "If you hadn’t made me a member of the Trojan Family when I was 12, I don’t know where my life would be. You are a special person, and I will be forever thankful for your generosity. "