Hall of Famer Rod Carew first met Konrad Reuland in 1990 and likely had a hard time remembering that meeting. Seventeen years later, the two are inseparable.
Reuland died last December and his kidney and heart were donated to Carew. The Hall of Famer at the time was in desperate need of a heart.
This week the story was revealed by the American Heart Association of how one family of a legend in baseball and the family of a young player in the NFL, who died of a brain aneurysm, learned of the circumstances surrounding the gift Carew received.
The majority of the time people receiving organ transplants do not know who the donor was. However, Rhonda, Carew’s wife, and Reuland’s mom Mary were able to determine that the former player in the NFL who died at 29 gave a gift of live to the Hall of Famer who is 71.
In 2015, Carew suffered a heart attack and was fitted with a mechanical device in his heart. Just over a year later his name was added to the list of people waiting for a heart transplant.
Reuland was a big tight end who developed a bad headache while on a treadmill during a workout while hoping to return to play with another team in the NFL.
He had brain surgery weeks later but did not regain consciousness. Prior to Reuland dying doctors took his liver, kidneys and heart.
Carew was determined to be a match and on December 16 received Reuland’s kidney and heart.
Almost immediately, Carew’s friends questioned his family if the two organs were from Reuland.
Clues appeared such as Carew’s wife being told the donor had been a very healthy local male and had been in his late 20s.
Reuland mom was told the organ recipient was 71. She was then told about Carew a few days later. Doing some searching on the web she decided to reach out to Carew’s wife.
Through working together, the two concluded that the organs came from Reuland and the Heart Association confirmed it.
Last month, the two families met and the Reuland’s listened to Carew’s new heart through a stethoscope.
Carew, who won the American League batting crown seven times and hit .388 in 1981 is becoming healthier. He told Reuland’s mother he would take care of her son’s heart since he gave him a second chance.