Rod Carew saved by heart from NFL player

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

The Ravens said Reuland's other kidney went to a woman in 60s in Southern California and a man in his 50s received Reuland's liver.

But her son was brain-dead at 29.

An essay called "Heart of a Raven" on the National Football League team's website revealed the story on Friday.

"Forever, I will take care of this one because I've been given a second chance, and God knows how I feel and what I'm going to do for him", Carew responded, according to the story.

When the families met in person for the first time, in a visit coordinated by the AHA on March 2, one of the first things Mary did was lean her head against Carew's chest.

Reuland, a childhood friend of quarterback Mark Sanchez, went undrafted in 2011 after playing his college ball at Notre Dame and Stanford. "She was like, 'We've never heard of anyone calling with the name [of a recipient].' She paused for the longest time and said, 'Yes, it is'".

In 2015, Carew suffered a heart attack and was fitted with a mechanical device in his heart.

Carew was determined to be a match and on December 16 received Reuland's kidney and heart. Fourteen months later, he was put on the heart transplant list.




Nearly immediately, Carew's friends questioned his family if the two organs were from Reuland. She said she signed up to be a donor, so he made a decision to do so, too.

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. He was in fact the donor that helped the 71-year-old Carew survive heart and kidney transplant surgery.

The donor, she was told, was 29 - the same age as Reuland and the number Carew wore when he smacked 3,053 hits over his career.

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.

For Reuland's mom, this was too much of a coincidence. Mary lost her dad and a 31-year-old sibling to heart assaults; Ralf's dad has gotten a stent and fights atrial fibrillation.

The families look forward to working together – especially on “ Heart of 29, ” the campaign Carew started past year with the American Heart Association. When Reuland's mother, Mary, saw Carew, she hugged him and said: "You're part of our family now".

After all, Konrad Reuland gave us a beacon of what it means to be special in life and in death.

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

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