Jason Peter "Jay" Garrick was a college student in 1938 who accidentally inhaled heavy water vapors after falling asleep in his laboratory where he had been working. As a result, he found that he could run at superhuman speed and had similarly fast reflexes. After a brief career as a college football star, he donned a red shirt with a lightning bolt and a stylized metal helmet with wings (based on images of the Greek deity Hermes), and began to fight crime as the Flash.