First Division 1 Player To Have Liver Transplant Isn’t Even Supposed To Be Here

By kncipat on April 30, 2021
Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At the tender age of 3 Jackson Vaughan had his second liver transplant. He’d already been through aggressive chemo for his cancer. During the process he had not one but two heart attacks and 46 minutes of cardiac arrest. Doctors weren’t sure he’d make it. In fact he was given a 1% chance of surviving. But one doctor in particular made up his mind to fight for Jackson. Maybe it was the picture above Jackson’s hospital bed of him playing with a toy dinosaur. Somehow, some way Jackson pulled out of it and began to get stronger. At the age of 9 he was strong enough to try playing tennis. “I was really bad at it,” said Jackson. “So I moved on to baseball and I was still really bad.”  But he kept after it. He tried out for the baseball team at UC Santa Barbara. He was cut. But Jackson has never given up. Today he pitches for the University Of Pacific Tigers. He’s the first Division 1 baseball player who’s ever had a liver transplant. “He’s got something special,” said Jackson’s UOP coach. “And we knew it from the beginning. He’s got things you can’t teach.” His teammates describe him as a fun loving guy who happens to be a really good pitcher. And the next step for Jackson? Major League Baseball. Why not?! “The chances of surviving stage 4 liver cancer at age three with 2 heart attacks and 46 minutes of cardiac arrest, pretty slim,” says Jackson. “The chances of making it to mlb, pretty slim. I think I can do both.” By the way Jackson is majoring in geology and carries a 4.0 gpa.