Former NFL tight end Greg Olsen, who had his best seasons with the Carolina Panthers, is going through every parent’s worst nightmare. In a distressing thread on Twitter, Olsen detailed the serious and difficult situation he, his wife Kara, and his son T.J. are facing.
T.J. was born in 2012 with a congenital heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and has undergone four surgeries, three of which open heart. It’s been a long and painful road.
“Unfortunately, it seems his heart is reaching its end. We are currently working through the process to determine our next steps, which ultimately could lead to a heart transplant,” wrote Olsen in that thread.
In response to his and his family’s experiences, Olsen and the Greg Olsen Foundation partnered with Atrium Health Foundation to establish The HEARTest Yard Fund.
“This initiative is a family service program administered in conjunction with Levine Children‘s Hospital, making the transition from the hospital to the home much easier for families of infants affected by congenital heart disease. One of its key focuses will be to prevent complications and re-admissions to the hospital between stages of recovery,” According to the Atrium Health Foundation website.
Olsen donated millions to the foundation and the building of a 25,000-square foot facility at Levin Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.
[T.J.] had been leading as normal of a childhood as possible, serving as a bat boy for his older brother’s 2019 Little League team that fell one win short of making the Cal Ripken Invitational World Series in Florida.
After spending last season with the Seahawks, Olsen announced his retirement and joined FOX as a color-commentator, but he still calls Charlotte home. Recently, Olsen teamed up with the top tight ends in the NFL, George Kittle and Travis Kelce, to create Tight End University, an offseason tight end summit in Nashville.
Olsen and his family are facing the unbearable, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time. If you would like to make a donation to The HEARTest Yard, it can be done here.