The organs for Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew’s life-saving heart and kidney surgery were provided from somebody he met nearly two decades prior: former Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets tight end Konrad Reuland.
Reuland was on life support as Carew’s condition --- the result of heart attack and two blood clots in his brain ---- worsened to the point he was moved to the top of the transplant list. Reuland, 29, died on Dec. 12, two weeks after he suffered a brain aneurysm. Carew’s transplant surgery was conducted four days later.
“We lost a wonderful man, so it had to go into a wonderful person,” Mary Reuland said (per the Ravens’ official website). “I couldn’t be happier that it went to such a wonderful man.”
Mary Reuland retold the story of when her son came back from school at age 11 and told her he had met Carew.
“That’s how it was the whole rest of the day,” Mary Reuland said .”It was really kind of cute. For him to meet a pro athlete at that age, it was like the best thing that could happen to him.”
Carew did not immediately know whose organs he had received since and only the donor’s family can request a meeting with the person who received the organ donation.
"They found me a 29-year-old heart," Carew joked to Fox Sports in January. "You never know, it could be time for a comeback."
Konrad Reuland’s family only knew his left kidney and heart were donated to a 71-year-old man in Southern California. That’s the same age as Carew and his transplant was conducted at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, about five miles from where Reuland died in Los Angeles.
Mary said “everybody was connecting the dots” and when she called the donation company, it confirmed Caraw had received two of her son’s organs.
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.
Carew returned home in late January, seven weeks after the transplant surgery.
"It’s been a long journey, but everything just came out right, the way everybody wanted it," Carew told Fox Sports.
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