Former NFL tight end Greg Olsen's son T.J. was born with a rare condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome

By Gabrielle Chung
June 04, 2021 10:20 PM
Greg Olsen
Credit: Greg Olsen/instagram

Greg Olsen's 8-year-old son T.J. is undergoing a heart transplant after finding a donor match.

The former NFL tight end, 36, shared the news in an Instagram post on early Friday morning, writing, "Today is a day of mixed emotions. A day we have prayed for has arrived."

T.J. was born with a rare condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning he had just half a heart, and he has undergone multiples surgeries throughout his life.

"We were alerted last night that there was a donor match for TJ to receive his heart transplant," Olsen wrote, sharing a photo of himself and wife Kara holding hands with the young boy in the hospital. "Walking our little boy, with tears of hope and fear in our eyes, was one of the toughest moments of our lives."

He continued: "We ask for everyone's prayers for TJ and his amazing team of doctors and nurses. TJ has a long road ahead of him but today is a huge step forward. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the outpouring of support through this entire journey."

Later on Friday, Olsen tweeted that "TJ is in surgery now and we're anxiously waiting for more updates."

"Thank you for keeping our little buddy in your prayers!" he added.

Hours later, Olsen said in a follow-up tweet that T.J. "is finished with surgery and is being transferred to the ICU."

"We won't be able to see him for a few more hours but his doctors are very happy with the surgery," he continued. "TJ will be sedated for a few days but his road to recovery has begun."

In May, Olsen revealed that T.J. had been hospitalized due to issues with his heart.

"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," the retired athlete shared in a social media post. "Unfortunately, it seems his heart is reaching its end."

At the time, Olsen - who is also dad to T.J.'s twin sister Talbot and older son Tate - said the family was "working through the process to determine our next steps, which ultimately could lead to a heart transplant."

"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," he wrote. "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."

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Olsen announced last week that T.J. had been officially added to the heart transplant list.

"We don't know how long it will be, but we have started the race," he wrote on his Instagram. "It is not lost on us that a life must be lost for his life to be saved. Our hearts break with the thought."