Jerry Baker was a high school football player from Corbin, Kentucky, who became blind at the age of 14 but continued to play the sport he loved. He was the inspiration behind the 2013 film “23 Blast”, which portrayed his remarkable journey of overcoming adversity and achieving his dreams. But how did he die and what was his impact on the football world and beyond?
A Blind Visionary
Jerry Baker was born on September 4, 1980, in Corbin, Kentucky. He grew up with a passion for football and joined the Corbin High School team as a freshman. He played as a center, a position that requires snapping the ball to the quarterback and blocking the defenders. He was a talented and dedicated player, who earned the respect and admiration of his teammates and coaches.
However, his life changed dramatically in 1994, when he contracted a rare bacterial infection that caused him to lose his sight overnight. He was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis, a serious condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. He was hospitalized for several weeks and underwent multiple surgeries, but the doctors could not save his vision.
Despite this devastating setback, Jerry Baker did not give up on his passion for football. He decided to return to the field, with the help of his best friend and quarterback, Travis Freeman. Freeman, who later became the main character of the film “23 Blast”, devised a system of signals and sounds to communicate with Baker on the field. He also guided him through the plays and protected him from the opponents.
With this unique partnership, Baker was able to resume his role as a center and play for the Corbin Redhounds. He amazed everyone with his courage and skill, and proved that blindness was not a barrier to his success. He helped his team win several games and championships, and inspired many people with his story.
A Life Cut Short
After graduating from high school, Jerry Baker went on to attend the University of Kentucky, where he studied graphic design. He also continued to play football for fun, joining a local flag football league. He remained close friends with Freeman, who also attended the same university and became a motivational speaker.
However, Jerry Baker faced numerous health challenges throughout his life, including diabetes, which ultimately led to his passing in 2018.He was 37 years old.
His death was mourned by his family, friends, and fans, who remembered him as a brave and positive person. His former teammates and coaches paid tribute to him on social media, and shared their memories and condolences. His story was also featured in several news outlets and documentaries, such as ESPN and CBS.
A Lasting Legacy
Jerry Baker left behind a lasting legacy, both as a football player and as a human being. He created a history that inspired and entertained many people, and he showed his passion and his professionalism on the field. He also touched many lives with his kindness and his humor, and he showed his generosity and his compassion for various causes. He was a talented and a genuine person, who lived his life to the fullest, and left a positive mark on the world.