Sports

Rod Carew's heart donor was ex-NFL player Konrad Reuland

Rod Carew's heart donor was ex-NFL player Konrad Reuland

However, Rhonda, Carew's wife, and Reuland's mom Mary were able to determine that the former player in the National Football League who died at 29 gave a gift of live to the Hall of Famer who is 71. A brain aneurysm robbed him of his future, but he wound up giving back to the world anyway. He got the heart and kidney two days after the fact.

"'You know I met Rod Carew!'" Mary remembers Konrad telling everyone who would listen.

"Forever", Carew said, according to the site.

Last month, after the two families connected, the Reulands met the Carews for the first time and got to hear Konrad's heartbeat one more time.

Carew was dealing with life-threatening complications from a heart attack he suffered in 2015.

Long before that massive heart attack landed him on the transplant list, the hall-of-famer played for the Minnesota Twins and California Angels. He latched on with the Jets and recorded a combined 12 catches and 90 yards in 2012 and 2013.

The only details the Carews received prior to the transplant were that the donor was “male, late 20s, local, exceptionally healthy.” They later learned his exact age: 29.

The Hall of Fame infielder was told in December - less than two days after Reuland's death - that he could get the heart and kidney he needed - something of a rarity for a 71-year-old.

Reuland's parents, Ralf and Mary, and their youngest son Austin took turns listening through a stethoscope to Konrad's heart beating inside Carew's chest when they met the former baseball star and his wife Rhonda, according to the American Heart Association News.

“We are so thankful, so grateful, so there arent adequate words, ” Rhonda told the Reulands.

The families look forward to working together – especially on “ Heart of 29, ” the campaign Carew started a year ago with the American Heart Association.

So Mary Reuland did a bit of investigating work and reached out to Carew's family.

Doctors found a subdural hematoma in Carew's brain last July, which caused hallucinations and kept him from being eligible for a transplant until November 18 of this year.

"This is Mary Reuland", she said in a voicemail.

"You're part of our family now".

Both families want to encourage more people to become organ donors. Carew's family has for some time been joined as organ givers in memory of his girl, Michelle, who kicked the bucket of leukemia when she was not able get a match for a bone marrow transplant. Because Konrad Reuland died at 29, the name carries added meaning.


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