Greg Olsen planning to play in Week 12, finds new ways to keep giving back to community
The Panthers tight end expects to see the field against the Jets in Week 12
Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is having an interesting few weeks. He's been seen on the sideline cheering on his team's dominant Monday night victory over the hapless Miami Dolphins, for doing a radio broadcast for one of their games. . All of this since the middle of Week 2.
Good news, for Panthers fans: Olsen is coming back after the Week 11 bye. He told us as much on the Pick Six Podcast (subscribe here on iTunes and feel free to drop that five-star review!), that "barring something" happening to him in practice, he'll be back on the field.
"All the indications are right now that I should be back out there after the bye in New York. Barring something in practice, you never know until you're really out there," Olsen told CBSSports.com. "You can run routes on the side, you can do drills by yourself, but until you get out there in a competitive environment with other guys and move around and have to really react, and not really think about anything, just kind of put your foot in the ground and go -- it's hard to guarantee anything, but right now there's no indications that that's not going to be the result. I've got a good week ahead of me during the bye and then come back on Monday for practice and get going.'
Hear the full podcast below, but Olsen also talked about being the guy who's been on the sidelines, having to reintegrate himself into the offense after Carolina dropped a 40-burger on the Dolphins.
Olsen was appearing on behalf of Microsoft, who he has is working with on a really cool partnership that relates back to his work with Levine's Children Hospital in Charlotte. For those that somehow don't know, Olsen's son T.J. was diagnosed with a heart issue at a young age. The doctor's at Levine's helped him through a difficult process and the Olsens have been giving back by establishing the HEARTest Yard, which helps to provide support, both emotional and financial, to families who are going through the same issue.
Specifically, the HEARTest Yard helps to pay for in-home care after the kids get out of Levine; it's a large part of the reason why Olsen was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2016.
The Microsoft part comes in because they have helped to create technology that allows doctors to seamlessly monitor the children at home, receiving reports and information as it relates to the young kids, which, as Olsen pointed out, changed the way the process works.
"To work with a group like Microsoft and utilize their technology directly in the homes of our families, it just works so well. It's exactly the kind of spark we needed to elevate our program. Our nurses over the years, as our nurses were going into these families homes -- and I remember when we brought T.J. home the first time prior to this technology, prior to Surface tablets, we had old-school spiral notebooks, and every day we would just write the vitals and all the different information we had to track," Olsen explained. "And it was only until the next time you visited your cardiologist that you would submit your journal. And it could have been two or three weeks that went by, now through this technology and through the use of the Surface, this is all updating to the doctor's office in real time, through their systems.
"And these doctors know exactly what's going on at home, they can see changes in blood saturation, they can see changes in eating habits and no one of this would be possible without them."
And now Microsoft is helping to try and find other places to "create change" through technology, and is asking fans to share the stories from their community using the hashtag #CreateChangeContest on social media. Along with Olsen, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Von Miller, and Martellus Bennett are eligible athletes for the prize; the winner will choose fans to receive Super Bowl tickets.
Living in North Carolina (and as the dad of a four-year-old kid) I can personally attest to the impact that Olsen's work has had on the community at large; I know family friends who have been involved in the program. It's literally a life-changing thing that Olsen is doing. Any praise he gets for helping the community is more than well deserved.
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