Jake Olson became the first completely blind football player in college football history when he successfully long snapped a point after try for the University of Southern California (USC) against Western Michigan on September 2nd, 2017. Jake's story of overcoming retinoblastoma and going blind at the age of 12 has served as an inspiration to many people across the world.


Born on March 26th, 1997, Jake's first battle with cancer came when at 8 months old, he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. Two months later, the disease claimed his left eye. In November 2009, after battling the cancer for 12 years, Jake lost his right eye. During Jake's battle, he confronted many challenges and encountered many setbacks- but he remained strong. He has used his experience to inspire and motivate others by authoring two books, establishing a non-profit foundation to support cancer research and visually impaired children, and by sharing his story openly and impactfully as a motivational speaker.


Jake is also a life-long USC football fan. In high school, he learned to long snap and earned the starting spot on his high school's varsity team as a junior and senior. After being accepted to USC, Jake was offered a walk-on roster spot on the legendary Trojans football team. This made him the first-ever completely blind Division I college football player. He saw his first live-action in 2017 when he snapped in USC’s home opener on September 2nd and was named the Pac-12 special teams’ player of the week. In his college career, he had a total of three successful PAT snaps, earning his spot as one of the top two most inspirational stories in college football's 150-year history. His story has been featured on ESPN, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, Fox Sports, Hallmark, TBN, The Golf Channel, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post, etc.


Since graduating from USC, Jake has gone on to win an adaptive golf championship, spend time with his dog Quebec, build on his already long-established presence as a motivational speaker, and become an entrepreneur. Inspired by his experiences being booked for speaking and marketing engagements, Jake co-founded Engage, an online platform that digitizes the process of booking speakers, athletes, and other talent for events and experiences. In 2022, Engage closed a pre-seed round that valued the growing startup at $30 million. 

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Jake Olson Reviews

  • What is your favorite quote? "Don't take life too seriously. You'll never get out alive." -Elbert Hubbard
  • Are there any moments that stand out as having a significant impact on your career? The first time Pete Carroll invited me to watch a USC practice before I went blind, getting into USC and finding out I'd get the opportunity to be a member of the football team.
  • Outside of your profession do you have any hobbies/interests? I love playing poker, golf, the guitar, and talking sports. I am an avid fantasy sports player. I also love taking on new and exciting tasks.