Hall of Famer Given New Lease on Life

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The story details a chance meeting between Carew and an 11-year-old Reuland, who died at age 29.

Both families are also encouraging more people to become organ donors, and the AMA noted that Reuland's organs and tissues could end up going to several hundred people.

The organs for Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew's life-saving heart and kidney surgery were provided from somebody he met almost two decades prior: former Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets tight end Konrad Reuland. Doctors implanted a mechanical heart device.

He went on the transplant waiting list the Friday before Thanksgiving and moved higher a few weeks later. The hulking tight end had in November developed a bad headache while running on a treadmill, working out in hopes of getting a tryout with another National Football League team. His brain activity stopped a few weeks later. Former New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens tight end Konrad Reuland passed away from a brain aneurysm at the age of just 29 years old.

Carew was a match. Carew also received one of Reuland's kidneys.

Nearly immediately, friends of the Carews wondered whether they came from Reuland.

Since then, Carew has started a campaign called Heart of 29 with the American Heart Association.

Former NFL tight end Konrad Reuland died December 12 at the age of 29 following a ruptured brain aneurysm. The Reulands had been told that his left kidney and his heart went to a 71-year-old man in Southern California. Believe it or not, the heart that is now keeping Carew alive once belonged to a fellow former professional athlete.

San Jose Mercury News writer Dan Brown wrote a fantastic story about how Reuland's family connected with Carew after the transplant. Rod was released from the hospital on February 14, and the Reulands invited Rod and his family to their home on March 2.

"Does it sound the same?"

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

Carew, an 18-time All-Star, spent 12 seasons with the Twins and seven with the Angels during a career that ended in 1985.

"Whatever, if we can save a life, and that means including Konrad now, you know, wherever I go, he's going to be there", says Rod Carew.

"I told them when they came here, and I strongly believe this, that they are now a part of our family", Mary Reuland told the Los Angeles Times. Using one of his stethoscopes, he, Mary and their youngest son Austin each heard Konrads heart thumping inside Rods chest. "You are a part of our family, and you will be invited to family functions whether you want to come or not".


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