Teaching Students About Greg Olsen


Teaching students about the inspirational life of Greg Olsen can be a powerful way to encourage perseverance, resilience, and the importance of teamwork. As an accomplished NFL tight end for the Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, Olsen has faced numerous challenges both on and off the field. Through his personal hardships and philanthropic efforts, he provides valuable lessons for all students.

Early Life and Career:

Greg Olsen was born in 1985 in Wayne, New Jersey. He displayed immense athletic potential from a young age. At Wayne Hills High School, Olsen was a stellar three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and track. Following an outstanding high school career, he joined the University of Miami where he further excelled as a college football player.

In 2007, Greg was drafted by the Chicago Bears as their first-round pick. After spending four seasons with the team, he was traded to the Carolina Panthers where his career really gained momentum. With the Panthers, Olsen became one of the NFL’s top tight ends, earning several accolades such as three Pro Bowl selections and two All-Pro honors.

Overcoming Personal Challenges:

Besides his prowess on the gridiron, Greg faced unique challenges in his personal life. In 2012, Greg’s son T.J. was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). He required multiple surgeries and extended hospital stays early in his life. The experience deeply impacted Greg and his family, making them strong advocates for pediatric cardiac care.

Philanthropy and Giving Back:

Inspired by their journey with T.J., Greg and his wife founded The HEARTest Yard Initiative in partnership with the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. The program provides comprehensive at-home care services for families affected by congenital heart disease in the region. Greg also regularly participates in charitable events to raise funds and awareness for this cause.

In 2019, Olsen was awarded the prestigious NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which honors a player’s volunteer and charity work along with their excellence on the field. This recognition highlights his commitment to giving back and positively impacting the lives of others.

Lessons to Teach Students:

Through Greg Olsen’s life story, students can learn valuable lessons about overcoming adversity, teamwork and the importance of giving back to their community. Some topics educators can cover when teaching about Greg Olsen include:

1. Perseverance – Greg’s journey from high school athlete to NFL star demonstrates the power of hard work and determination.

2. Overcoming adversity – Greg faced difficult challenges in his personal life but used those experiences to inspire himself and others.

3. Teamwork – As an NFL player, Greg learned how essential teamwork is both on and off the field.

4. Giving back – Greg’s philanthropic efforts highlight the importance of using one’s success to help others in need.


By teaching students about Greg Olsen’s inspirational and impactful life journey, educators can provide them with valuable lessons that promote perseverance, resilience and a strong sense of community. Through this engaging material, students will gain insights into how they can overcome obstacles and thrive personally while also making a positive impact on those around them.

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