MORGAN COUNTY, Ga. — The Morgan County high school soccer team was featured on SportsCenter this past week, thanks to a goal scored by Jacob Martin. That eccentric teenager that you saw on national television has had quite the journey these last six months.
It was the goal heard around the country: Morgan County defender Jacob Martin scored his first goal of the season, a game clincher featured on SportsCenter.
“My Mom called me too and said I was on SportsCenter and I thought oh my gosh, that’s literally insane,” junior Jacob Martin recalled.
He scored that goal after his 11th round of chemotherapy.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to play high school soccer, but I’ve played in every game so far. I’ve even played when I’ve had chemo,” Martin said.
“I did not think he would be able to play this high school season,” Jacob’s mom Mandi said.
In October 2020, Jacob noticed that something didn’t feel quite right.
“In soccer games, I literally would be wheezing during my games, and I had a lot of chest pain. I kept having night sweats, too,” Jacob explained. After some testing and scans, his parents Mandi and Charlie heard the words they were dreading the most: “It’s cancer.”
“You can’t take it in. It’s impossible. Your brain just does not want to hear it,” Mandi described.
“It was just super emotional," Jacob added. "Everyone was just finding out about it, so it was just devastating, basically."
Jacob was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 16 years old.
“It’s definitely a gut check,” said dad Charlie. “I just want to know is it survivable? Can he survive this? This nurse looked at me and said, ‘absolutely.’”
Despite 11 rounds of chemo, Jacob hasn’t missed a soccer game all season.
“Usually I throw up, and I feel terrible after,” Jacob described.
“Even after chemo, he has come back and been throwing up so consistently. I had to drive him to one of his games and had to bring a bag, and despite all of that, he still went out there and played well,” Jacob’s sister, Hannah Martin, said.
“I never knew that my son is as strong as he is," his mom added. "He has gone through so much pain and suffering. He doesn’t complain and he fights, and he is an inspiration."
That flame that was slowly flickering before the diagnosis - fully ablaze, now, because of the feeling that he gets on the pitch.
"It just motivates me," Jacob said. "When I have a soccer game, it just makes me so happy and I want to play so bad."
Jacob will go through his 12th and - hopefully - final round of chemotherapy on March 29. March 30 will be called "Jacob Martin Day" at Morgan County High School, where they will honor him before the final soccer game of the season.