Former NFL tight end Greg Olsen on Monday announced that his son, 8-year-old TJ, may need a heart transplant and that his heart is “reaching its end.”
TJ, born in 2012 along with twin sister Talbot, has the congenital heart defect left heart syndrome, which affects normal blood flow through the heart. He has lived with a “modified heart” for the majority of his life after undergoing open-heart surgery three times before the age of 3.
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
— Greg Olsen (@gregolsen88) May 24, 2021
Below is Olsen’s full message:
“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 has received intensive care at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., since he was born in 2012 (Greg Olsen’s second season playing for the Panthers). The Olsen family used a private-duty nurse to help care for TJ when they returned from the hospital, prompting the realization that many families in similar circumstances can’t afford the service.
Olsen and his wife Kara then founded The HEARTest Yard, a foundation that provides personalized in-home healthcare for children at Levine with congenital heart disease. The Olsens also donated $2.5 million to the Levine cardiac care center, which opened in December 2020.