In 2019, 13-year-old Jasen Bracy picked up the phone to call a California youth football coach named David Nichols. Although he didn’t know it at the time, his life was about to change forever.
When Jasen was a toddler, he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma cancer in both eyes which caused him to lose his vision at a very young age. only being able to make out minimal light forms, the now teenager has been blind for many years. However, his lack of sight has never stopped him from chasing his dreams.
“I called around, and other teams told me no,” Bracy said to PEOPLE. However, there was one coach in particular that was willing to give the kid a shot.
“I said he was more than welcome to come out,” David Nichols, coach of the Modesto Raiders, stated. “Then he told me, ‘Coach, there’s just one problem, I can’t see. I’m blind.’ “
The teenager went on to describe his vision, explaining the minimal sight he does have. Bracy shared, “I can see light here and there. Objects, I can’t see objects, can’t see figures, letters, numbers, anything that’s in print. I can’t see a book or anything like that.”
Yet, this never deterred Bracy from seeking out a football team. Conducting a secret operation that he withheld from his parents, the teenager began calling local organizations in his area in search of a team that would let him play. Needless to say, Bracy’s father, Jasen Sr., was surprised when Coach David called gave him a callback.
“I get a call from Coach Dave, and I’ve never heard of the man,” Jasen Sr., recalled. “I never spoke to him before or anything, and he tells me, ‘I got a phone call from your son saying he wants to come and play football.’ “
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Jasen Bracy Sr. speaks on behalf of his amazing son.
Yet, Jasen Sr. was well aware of his son’s stamina, so the fact that he sought out a football team wasn’t very surprising. “He never was without his spirit no matter what he had to go through, he never takes no as an answer,” he added. “He never succumbed to what he was going through and never changed who he was … He has no fear.”
Since joining the team, Bracy works on the field alongside one other quarterback and helps designate plays and positions, all while his father advises him through an earpiece in his helmet. His role as a quarterback is a job he takes very seriously.
“A quarterback is a leader, and the leader has to lead a team through whatever they’re going through,” Bracy explained. “Doesn’t matter if it’s raining, it’s windy, and we’re losing big time, you still have to keep that motivation that you had at the beginning of the game, keep that with you
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