Jerry Richardson Needs Heart Transplant

Richie FenderCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2008

It's a sad day in the Queen City. Carolina Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson has been placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing heart transplant waiting list.

Mr. Richardson had a pacemaker/defibrillator inserted in early November. He returned to the hospital last week after feeling ill and was unable to attend the Panthers' Monday night victory over division rival Tampa Bay.

Richardson underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2002 and has a history of heart trouble.

Jerry Richardson is the only NFL owner to have played in the league, having played two seasons as receiver for the Baltimore Colts.

In addition, he and his two sons worked for years to get an NFL expansion team in Charlotte. Since bringing the expansion Panthers to the Carolinas in 1995, he has been one of the league's most influential owners and serves on several league committees.

Providing a donor heart becomes available, Richardson will undergo heart transplant surgery at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. There is no timetable for the organ donor process.

Doctors explain that heart transplant candidates can remain in the hospital or go home during the waiting process. However, after surgery the heart transplant patient normally remains in the hospital for a period of time. Once the patient is released, the recovery time can take up to several months.

On a good note, approximately 2,200 heart transplant surgeries are performed in the US every year with a very high success rate.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had this to say about Richardson: "I think what they have done here is create a franchise that is not only admired in its own community, but admired league-wide. It's what we want our franchises to be, a great part of the community, and that is large part due to Jerry Richardson."

Richardson's sons, Mark and Jon, play major roles in running the team and Bank of America Stadium, which is also owned by Richardson.

The Panthers are hard at work for Mr. Richardson and getting set to take on the Denver Broncos in the house Richardson built, Bank of America Stadium. John Fox and crew will defend his house with Panther Pride.