modesto raiders blinded
Jasen Bracy during one of his games. (CNN)
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Modesto, California’s Jasen Bracy may lack vision, but he certainly can see his future. The 15-year-old football phenom has been blind since age seven — and that doesn’t stop him. 

“I never used even once that I can’t see as an excuse. Never have, never will,” said Jasen in an interview with CNN. “I told my team that the only difference between me and the other quarterback is that he has a different number, and that’s it.”

When Jasen was just 1-year-old, he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer that causes tumors in the retinas. While he underwent treatments over the next few years, and successfully beat the cancer, he was blind by the time he turned seven. 

Yet, that didn’t stop Jasen Bracy from leading the Modesto Raiders to a win in September, scoring a touchdown in the process, according to CBS Sacramento.

Coach gives blind football player a chance

A sports lover since he was young, Jasen never let his blindness slow him down on or off the field. At age 13, he used his phone to call every local football coach and asked for a try-out. Only one coach took him up on the request, Mr. David Nichols.

Jasen’s father, Jasen Bracy Sr., told CNN, “All of a sudden, one day we get a call from Coach David Nichols saying, ‘Hey, I got a call from your son asking if he can come play football for us, but did he say he was blind?’” 

Jasen so impressed Mr. Nichols, the coach put him in as quarterback, the team leader. “Just seeing him, he shows me there’s nothing you can’t do, and that reflects on the other kids. Ever since he’s been on my team, the team gravitate around him,” Nichols said in an interview with CNN. “It changes their whole outlook on life. He makes the season. Even if we don’t win, just having that chemistry with the team has probably been one of the best things I’ve ever been around.”

Jasen also plays other sports, including swimming, golf, baseball, and wrestling, yet his passion is football. He recently scored a running touchdown against a team that once rejected him, and now dreams of playing in the NFL.

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Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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