This teen’s got game, muscular dystrophy and a challenge for you

ST. GEORGE — A teen with muscular dystrophy wants to inspire people to follow their dreams no matter their limitations and he’s using a YouTube channel and esports gaming to do it as well as inviting his home community to join him in his own “J Cap Blazing Challenge” – note: a few hot spicy wings are involved.

Jared Caplin attends the “Call of Duty World Championship” finals, Las Vegas, Nevada, September 2016 | Photo courtesy of Jared Caplin, St. George News

I think my overall message to people is … don’t ever give up on anything even if you have limitations or if something’s in your way,” Jared Caplin said. “Just don’t give up and fight through it, and find your purpose in life. I think if you do that, success will come.

It’s a message Jared Caplin lives.

He was very young when he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease causing progressive weakness and muscle loss.

A once mobile, active child, Jared Caplin became confined to a wheelchair as his disease progressed.

“At first it was a little hard because I moved here from Florida when I was in sixth grade,” Jared Caplin, now a St. George resident, said. “At that time puberty hit and I just couldn’t fit in there, and I was a little depressed because I thought no one liked me.”

As time went on, he said, he refused to let his immobility define him.

“Something clicked,” he said, “and I don’t know what it was, but I just got over the fact that I was in a wheelchair and just became friends with a lot of people because I wasn’t thinking about my wheelchair.”

Watch Jared in the video top of this story.

Jared Caplin started looking at the many possibilities open to him, including spreading awareness of the disease by working with the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Jared Caplin places in the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Walkathon, date and location not specified. | Photo courtesy of Jared Caplin, St. George News

“I became an MDA ambassador six months ago and I do funding – fundraisers,” Jared Caplin said. “And I went to a few events for MDA to make it better known to people what MDA is.”

Even before then, Jared Caplin wanted to find a way to express himself through his favorite pastime as a competitive player of “Call of Duty,” the mega-popular first-person shooter video game series.

“My most competitive game I love to play is ‘Call of Duty,’” he said. “Just something about it makes me want to do good and help out a team, and it just makes my heart race.”

“Back in 2016, Jared graduated from (Desert Hills) high school,” his father, Alan Caplin, said. “About six months before he graduated, we were talking about what his future plans were, and one of the things he said to me is that he didn’t want to go to college.

“I said, ‘OK, you don’t want to go to college, what are you going to do the rest of your life? You’ve got to do something.’ And he said to me, ‘Well, I want to start a YouTube channel.’”

Recognizing the popularity of video game-related YouTube channels, Jared Caplin realized he could use his passion for gaming to create content for his own channel.

He spent several months researching how to be successful in the YouTube business and is currently enrolled at Dixie State University to learn how to be a better video editor.

His YouTube channel, “J Cap is Awesome,” launched last year and has garnered over 100 subscribers. It features videos highlighting his trips to esports events, gameplay footage and video blogging.

Jared Caplin poses at a Major League Gaming competition, Las Vegas, Nevada, Dec. 2016 | Photo courtesy of Jared Caplin, St. George News

In September 2016, Jared Caplin went to his first esports event with his dad for the “Call of Duty” world championships.

“It was more than a sensational event,” Alan Caplin said, “and I think it was the first time that he discovered that there’s something about him that draws people to him.”

The event, in which large audiences watch professional gamers compete against each other, also draws a wide range of sponsors, vendors and game developers.

While there, he and his dad realized the event could double as a great networking opportunity. In one event, he met with the CEO of Activision, one of the biggest video game publishers in the world. He has since maintained that valuable connection.

Recognizing that esports events work as a great platform from which to shoot videos and create YouTube content, Jared Caplin has become a regular at Major League Gaming events around the country.

“It was interesting how many people recognized him as we walked into that venue,” Alan Caplin said, describing a recent trip to a “Call of Duty” competition in Las Vegas.

Jared Caplin attends the “Call of Duty World Championship,” Las Vegas, Nevada, September 2016 | Photo courtesy of Jared Caplin, St. George News

As he has built a reputation, Jared Caplin has secured sponsorship from five major companies involved in the gaming tournaments.

He has also partnered with Scuf Gaming, whose CEO, Duncan Ironmonger, has taken a personal interest in supporting Jared Caplin’s gaming and YouTube endeavors. They are working together to develop a controller facilitated specifically for people with muscle weakness conditions.

“I just said I have some ideas about creating a controller because I have limitations,” Jared Caplin said, “and he was open to talk about that stuff.”

As much success as he has had in less than one year, Jared Caplin said this is only the beginning and is looking forward to working with his dad to grow his brand further.

“J Cap’s 1st annual Blazing Challenge” to St. George

Part of growing his brand involves garnering a local following. Recently, the Caplins partnered with Buffalo Wild Wings’ St. George location to put on an event seeking to spread the word about his YouTube channel to gamers in Southern Utah.

J-Cap invites the public to get to know him and join him May 3 for an event he’s calling “J Cap’s 1st annual Blazing Challenge,” a spicy-hot chicken wing-eating contest. It will take place at the Buffalo Wild Wings at 221 S. River Road in St George on May 3 at 3 p.m. All proceeds of the contest will go toward further developing Jared Caplin’s YouTube channel.

There will also be an opportunity beforehand at 1 p.m. that day for potential sponsors to meet with the Caplins and enjoy a team-based version of the wing-eating contest. For more details, call Alan Caplin at 352-221-0748.

J Cap and Scump Team Optic at “Call of Duty World Championship” finals, Las Vegas, Nevada, September 2016 | Photo courtesy of Jared Caplin, St. George News

Event Details

  • What: “J Cap’s 1st annual Blazing Challenge”
  • When: May 3, 2017, at 3 p.m.
  • Where: Buffalo Wild Wings at 221 S. River Road, St George.
  • Cost: $12 to participate in the challenge.

Resources:

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • cobraccr April 16, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    What a nice kid IMG_1609.PNG

  • cobra_stang_ccr April 16, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Well look what he told someone online …
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • comments April 17, 2017 at 11:53 am

    ^ what is this guy on about?

    • Big Al April 18, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      Go read his Bio on his webpage…www.jcapisawesome.com

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