Rod Carew's transplanted heart donated from ex-Ravens TE Konrad Reuland

Baseball Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Twins player Rod Carew speaks to fans about his recent heart attack in Minneapolis. At right in a Sept. 3 2015 file

Rod Carew's transplanted heart donated from ex-Ravens TE Konrad Reuland

He suffered a heart attack and had two blood clots in his brain, so when Konrad sadly passed away on December 12, 2016, Rod's life-saving transplant surgery was conducted four days later.

The organs for Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew's life-saving heart and kidney surgery were provided from somebody he met almost two decades prior: former Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets tight end Konrad Reuland.

Reuland died on December 12 from complications of a brain aneurysm he suffered in November and was out of professional football at the time, having bounced around the league for five seasons as a tight end. Mary Reuland gave Carew, 71, a big hug and said, "You're part of our family now".

"We lost a wonderful man, so it had to go into a wonderful person", Mary told Carew. The Reuland family had been told that the organs went to a 71-year-old man in Southern California.

Carew met Reuland's mother three months after receiving the heart from Reuland, who played four games for the Ravens last season, starting in one.

Every heartbeat is unique - and she said this one was unquestionably Konrad's.

Carew's heart attack was described as a "widow maker", and doctors say he basically cheated death.

When pro football player Konrad Reuland was hospitalized with a brain aneurysm last November, he took it as a sign. "That's how it was the whole rest of the day".

The two men's blood type was the same, but the key factor was both were immune from Hepatitis B. No one ahead of Carew on the transplant list was immune. He had suffered a brain aneurysm two weeks earlier and never recovered, but because his other organs had not been affected, his family donated them to someone who might be sick enough to use them.

Carew was released from the hospital in February, and the Reulands, having found out the unlikely recipients of Konrad's donations, invited him and his family to their home last month.

Mary also chose to reach out to the Carew family.

Even if you're barely a baseball fan you know the name.

"I said, 'Listen, this train has left the station, it's really hard for me, but we need to know, was it Rod Carew who got my son's heart and kidney?'" Mary said.

Carew started a campaign past year with the American Heart Association called "Heart of 29".

On March 2, the Carews and Reulands got together. "I promise to always take care of your very priceless gifts".

Latest News