NBC SportsWorld: The vision of blind NHRA crew chief Jay Blake

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On May 22, 1997, Jay Blake endured a horrible accident while repairing a forklift wheel and tire assembly at his job for a transportation company.

More than 17 years later, he still remembers how it occurred. And he also remembers something else.

“At some point, I felt like I woke up inside a cloud,” Blake said recently to MotorSportsTalk’s Jerry Bonkowski in a story now up on NBC SportsWorld. “It was very white and very, very bright. This was true serenity, amazing peace.

“A voice said, ‘Do you want to stay or do you want to go [back to Earth]?’ I believe that was God asking me if I want to die or keep living.

“I was married and had two kids at the time, so I said, ‘I have to go.’”

Blake survived nearly 11 hours of surgery in a Boston hospital. When he came to, he realized that the accident had taken his sight.

His life had changed forever. But instead of succumbing to dark emotions, Blake persevered.

Today, Blake serves as crew chief for a Top Alcohol Funny Car team in the National Hot Rod Association. It’s the centerpiece of his Follow A Dream non-profit, and through that organization, he speaks about how he’s been able to overcome his obstacles to achieve success in the sport – inspiring others to let nothing get in their way.

Starting today, you can read his incredible tale as told by MST’s own Bonkowski on NBC SportsWorld, NBC Sports’ home for original, long-form storytelling and documentaries. We hope you’ll check it out.