Greg Olsen says his son TJ may need heart transplant: 'His heart is reaching its end'

Carolina Panthers' Greg Olsen poses for a photo with his family before a preseason NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Greg Olsen's son, TJ, may need a heart transplant. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, who retired in January and took a broadcasting job with Fox Sports, tweeted on Monday that his son is going through a serious medical crisis.

Olsen revealed that his 8-year-old son TJ, who has had heart problems since birth, may need a heart transplant as "his heart is reaching its end."

This past week has been exceptionally challenging for our family. As many of you know, our son TJ has faced serious heart issues since birth. TJ has already undergone 3 open heart surgeries and has survived with a modified heart for his first 8 years of life.

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.

We are so thankful for the incredible support we have received over the years. We have received world class care at Levine Children’s Hospital and we are so appreciative of their amazing team.

We don’t know how long we will be within these hospital walls. We do know that we are in full control of our attitudes and our outlook. TJ has been a fighter since birth. We are going to get through this as a family and be better off as a result of this experience.

Thanks for everyone’s prayers.

The Olsen Family

TJ is half of a set of twins, and Olsen and his wife, Kara, found out early in her pregnancy that he would be born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect. TJ and his sister Talbot were born in 2012, and he went through three open-heart surgeries before he was 3 years old.

TJ has received all his heart care at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Olsens have made giving back to the hospital a priority. After they used a private-duty nurse to help care for TJ when he came home from the hospital — something they recognized that many families can't afford — they started the HEARTest Yard, a foundation that provides in-home healthcare for children at Levine with congenital heart disease. They tailor the package for each child, including daytime and nighttime care, and foot all the bills.

The Olsens also donated $2.5 million to Levine's cardiac care center, which opened its doors in December 2020. It's named for the HEARTest Yard, and made possible thanks to Greg and Kara's donation.

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