Rod Carew's new heart, kidney came from former Colts player

Konrad Reuland, a Baltimore Ravens tight end, died of a brain aneurysm on December 12, 2016.

According to Garrett Downing of the Ravens' official website, Reuland died in December at the age of 29 of a brain aneurysm, but his organ donation saved Carew's life.

At Reuland's funeral in Southern California, people asked his mom whether she thought Konrad's organs had been donated to Carew.

"He gets in the vehicle, big eyes and everything - he's about 11, maybe 12, and he's saying, "Mom, mommy, I met Rod Carew today!" "You never know, it could be time for a comeback".

A little web searching about Carew's transplants persuaded her to get in touch with Carew's wife, the heart association reported.

"Reuland told his mother one day, 'Mom, I met Rod Carew today!" the Orange County Register reported.

An essay called "Heart of a Raven" on the National Football League team's website revealed the story on Friday. He was briefly signed to their practice squad in October 2014, and then brought back as a free agent in training camp last July, and spent the rest of the month of August on the team's training camp roster before being released towards the end of the preseason.

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

While such a wide age discrepancy might seem odd, the key factor was Hepatitis B. Both were immune. The Reulands each took a stethoscope and listened to Konrad's heart in Carew's chest, the heart association said.

After Reuland's mother told Carew he was now part of her family, he replied, "Forever. You are a part of our family, and you will be invited to family functions whether you want to come or not".

The previous fall, Reuland was on a treadmill when he encountered an extreme cerebral pain. At a dinner honoring her son a few days before Christmas, some people told her about Carew.

He had brain surgery weeks later but did not regain consciousness. She was hugging her son.

She told the American Heart Association that at first it was "too farfetched" that Reuland would be the donor.

Carew suffered a major heart attack on a golf course on September 20, 2015. He spent a year with a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, in his chest handling the work of his damaged heart.

Said Carew, who is expected to make a full recovery: "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". The NFL player was on life support while Rod's condition continued to worsen, and the former Hall of Fame baseball star was soon placed at the top of the transplant list. The Carew's were aware of Reuland's death through the news a couple days before and had wondered whether or not Rod received his heart.

Coronary illness has touched the Reulands, as well. Mary lost her father and a 31-year-old brother to heart attacks; Ralf's father has received a stent and battles atrial fibrillation.

  • Stacy Allen