Rod Carew got heart transplant from former NFL TE Konrad Reuland
Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew is fortunate to be alive after facing a number of health challenges over the past year-plus, but he is doing well because of a heart transplant he received back in December. Believe it or not, the heart that is currently keeping Carew alive once belonged to a fellow former professional athlete.
Konrad Reuland, an ex-NFL tight end who was just 29 when he died of a brain aneurysm on Dec. 12, had previously made the decision to be an organ donor. As it turned out, Carew was at the top of the donor list after he suffered a massive heart attack in 2015.
In a heartwarming feature that was published on the Baltimore Ravens’ website, Carew spoke about getting the opportunity to meet Reuland’s mother.
Mary and Ralf had no idea how they would react to the emotions of the meeting. They were less than three months removed from losing their oldest child, and they knew the encounter would be raw. But when Mary first saw Rod outside her home, she greeted him warmly with a big hug and said, “You’re part of our family now.”
“Forever,” Rod replied. “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.”
As the families shared hugs and tears, Mary was reminded of what she told the doctors before leaving Konrad’s hospital room for the last time: Whoever gets his heart better deserve it.
“We lost a wonderful man, so it had to go into a wonderful person,” Mary told Rod. “I couldn’t be happier that it went to such a wonderful man.”
Carew’s heart attack was described as a “widow maker,” and doctors say he basically cheated death. The 1977 A.L. MVP being in position to receive a new heart after a tragic death is the circle of life at its best.