CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- T.J. Olsen, the newborn son of Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, will have the first of three scheduled open-heart surgeries Thursday at Levine Children's Hospital to correct a congenital heart defect.
Kara Olsen delivered twins by Cesarian section Tuesday – T.J. and a daughter, Talbot. The Olsens learned 18 weeks into the pregnancy that T.J. has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition marked by an undeveloped left ventricle and aorta that affects between 1 and 4 babies for every 10,000 live births.
The first surgery is the most invasive and carries the most risk. T.J. will face two additional surgeries before his third birthday.
“He continues to be closely monitored by physicians and clinical staff during this very important period of time,” Olsen said Wednesday via text message. “We appreciate the thoughts and prayers and respect for our family's privacy.”
Olsen said Kara and Talbot are doing well.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said everyone in the organization is thinking about Olsen and his family.
“They had the babies (Tuesday) night. They were both big. One was over 8 pounds. The other one was almost 8 pounds,” Rivera said. “Now T.J. is in the infant care unit, and they'll go from there. So far, so good. We'll keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”
Offensive tackle Jordan Gross said he texted with Olsen after the twins arrived.
“Delivery was good. Everything's going according to what they predicted,” Gross said. “They were healthy and big, which was good. So they're getting a good start.”
Running back DeAngelo Williams, who has a 2-year-old daughter, said he is confident T.J. will make a full recovery.
“Everybody here's praying for him,” Williams said. “In this day and age, with the technology that we have – it's better than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago. I don't expect anything less than their best, and I know he'll recover.”