Rod Carew's new heart, kidney came from late NFL player

Share

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 died at UCLA Medical Center, and Carew underwent the operation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. At the same time, Reuland's family saw the news that Carew received the heart of a 29-year-old man and had wondered the same thing.

On the day that he died, Coach Harbaugh had the undesirable job to break the news to his team.

Amazingly enough, Konrad Reuland met Carew when he was just 11 years old.

Where does Rod Carew rank on the Major League Baseball all-time hits list? You know, he's a pro athlete. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, it's the first-ever organ transplant between professional athletes. "I will take care of this heart".

In December, former New York Jets tight end Konrad Reuland tragically passed away at the age of 29 after suffering a fatal brain aneurysm. He also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts, who released him in August.

The only details the Carew family received before the transplant were that the donor was "male, late 20s, local, exceptionally healthy".

The three stories all note that Mary Reuland later used a stethoscope to listen to her son's heart beating in Carew's chest.

"We are so thankful, so grateful, so there aren't adequate words", Rhonda Carew told Reuland's family after the surgery, according to ESPN.

"You're part of our family now".

Two days after Thanksgiving, he was on a treadmill when he felt “a click” behind his left eye and a severe headache. His brain activity stopped a few weeks later. She then pressed her ear against his chest to listen to the rhythm of the heartbeat made possible by her son's heart.

Mary was cooking dinner while Konrad was filling out a drivers license renewal form. She said she signed up to be a donor, so he made a decision to do so, too.

Carew, 71, suffered the major heart attack while playing golf in Corona, Calif., on September 20, 2015. Doctors spent six hours installing a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), which served the heart's function but left Carew so weak, he required a seven-week hospital stay in the wake of the surgery. By Dec. 9, he was moved to a higher priority on the list and had Reuland's heart a week later.

Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew's life was saved a few months ago when he received a heart transplant.

Coronary illness has touched the Reulands, as well. "They found me a 29-year-old heart", he joked to Fox Sports in January 2017.

Both families need to urge more individuals to wind up organ contributors.

Share