Jake Olson and the Perfect Snap to Accessibility

In September 2017, Braille Works heard of Jake Olson’s incredible story and were immediate fans. Shortly after celebrating his athleticism and character, Pacific-12 University of Southern California reached out to us for help in presenting Olson as the Player of the Week. It was an honor for Braille Works to provide his PAC-12 Braille embossed certificate. Seeing the joy and surprise on his face as he read his achievement, in a braille document, brings meaning to the services Braille Works provides. We’re sure there is much more to come for Jake and we will continue to watch his story unfold. As Jake said, “If you can’t see how God works things out, then I think you’re the blind one.”

Football and this encouraging narrative

In ESPN’s “The journey to my first snap,” Jake describes his blindness and the role that football played.

Over these past few days, there is one question that I have been asked repeatedly: “Jake, did you ever think when you were 12 and losing your sight that you would be snapping in a game for the University of Southern California?” How in the world could I have ever expected this? When I was 12 and about to lose my eyesight, I was concerned with everything from how I was going to brush my teeth again to how I would complete homework assignments, let alone find any sense of independence. Consequently, playing football became my last priority… There were plenty of people who were skeptical at first, and I don’t blame them: a blind kid playing football? (Olson, 2017)

Jake Olson proves that no sight equals no limits. We know there are many more “Jake Olsons” in the world.

It’s 2017, and we are seeing resilient, independent individuals reach new heights and challenges. When someone faces vision loss, vision impairment, or blindness, they don’t need to experience a loss of freedom. Thankfully, Olson’s organization understands the importance of independence, teamwork, and equal access to materials.

Why did PAC-12 give Olson a braille certificate?

“We provide a certificate of recognition to all Pac-12 student-athletes who achieve the Player of the Week honor in their respective sports. While these honorees have the ability to see their accomplishments documented on the certificate, we thought Jake would appreciate the certificate printed in Braille in order for him to read about his memorable and well-deserved achievement.

For many of these student-athletes, the certificate is a memento that they keep for a lifetime. With the certificate printed in Braille, Jake will now be able to enjoy this keepsake long after his playing days are finished.” — Dave Hirsch, VP, Communications

Who needs accessibility?

To understand who needs accessibility, Jake Olson stands as a great reminder. Our athletes need accessibility, our children need accessibility, students need accessibility, consumers need accessibility, and accessibility is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (WCAG 2.0 AA Standards). Olson’s spirit and supportive athletic atmosphere will inspire individuals to pursue their dreams and organizations to accommodate disabilities.

Braille Works is a business to business provider of accessible documents, for people who are visually impaired, blind, or have a reading related disability. Braille Works is committed to providing high quality accessible documents and materials, so everyone has equal access to reach their highest potential. You too can provide independence, give respect, and be socially responsible by providing all information and materials in an accessible format.

This post was written by Clerise Phillip Samuel


Originally published at brailleworks.com on October 26, 2017.