Tight End University Honors TJ Olsen’s Recent Heart Surgery

Tight End University’s first summit kicked off from June 23 to June 25 in Nashville, Tennessee. 50 tight end’s around the league were invited to learn from each other and apply those skills into the upcoming season. But before Tight End University came to a close on June 25, TEU honored Greg Olsen’s 8-year-old son, TJ.

TJ Olsen was born with a rare heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome where 1 in 100 babies are born each year with congenital heart disease in America. TJ underwent his first open-heart surgery before he was three years old. Four years after TJ had three open-heart surgeries, his rare heart defects took a turn for the worst. On May 24, Greg Olsen posted on Instagram how TJ’s heart was failing.

“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,” Olsen said.


After receiving the news about needing a heart transplant, TJ had to wait for eight days to receive the transplant. On June 16, 12 days after the transplant, TJ was released from the hospital.

TEU had gray Nike shirts made for all 50 tight ends to support TJ Olsen. Across the top of the shirt in red lettering, it said #playforTJ. In place of the A in play, TEU changed the A to symbolize a heart. The hashtag originally started when Greg Olsen announced an update on his son’s heart in May. The NFL said the shirts were made to support Greg Olsen’s foundation The HEARTest Yard which helps TJ and other kids who were born with a rare heart defect.

Tight End University placed importance not only on honoring Greg Olsen’s son, TJ, but they also donated $50,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. TEU could have solely focused on learning new skills from each other during the 3-day camp, but they chose to divert their time to play with the kids from the Boys & Girls Club. TEU used their position as athletes to promote different causes on their own time further proves how football is much more than stats. TEU showed rookies like Kyle Pitts, the importance of giving back to the community. TEU also demonstrates tight ends who may not have their own foundations and aren’t involved in their community, how their position means more than blocking and catching the ball.

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