Former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen penned an emotional letter about his 8-year-old son, TJ, on Monday. The NFL analyst for Fox Sports gave heartbreaking details on Twitter about his son’s heart condition.
“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 was born with a rare congenital heart condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. A birth defect that affects normal blood flow due to the heart not forming correctly. Most infants with the condition die within the first two weeks of life, with an average age at death of 4.5 days.
TJ has received all his heart care at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Greg and Kara Olsen have given back to make the hospital’s efforts a top priority in the southeast region. They realized many families can’t afford care and started the HEARTest Yard Foundation, a non-profit that provides care for children with congenital heart disease.
The Olsens also donated $2.5 million to Levine’s cardiac care center, which opened in the Queen’s City last December.
Olsen retired last year after playing a majority of his 14-year NFL career with the Panthers. The future hall of famer is currently fifth on the all-time list for receiving yards by a tight end with 8,683 yards.