Ex-Jets TE Konrad Reuland saves baseball legend Rod Carew in death

Rod Carew

Ex-Jets TE Konrad Reuland saves baseball legend Rod Carew in death

"By the time of the funeral, friends who had read about Rod Carew's recent heart transplant in Los Angeles were putting two and two together". Mary lost her father and a 31-year-old brother to heart attacks; Ralf's father has received a stent and battles atrial fibrillation.

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

"I said, 'Listen, this train has left the station, it's really hard for me, but we need to know, was it Rod Carew who got my son's heart and kidney?'" Mary said.

So Mary Reuland did a bit of investigating work and reached out to Carew's family.

"The whole thing is just unbelievable", Carew told American Heart Association News.

Carew's health issues began in September 2015 when he had a near-fatal heart attack while playing golf. She said it was a personal choice, but added she was signed up to be a donor. He got the call that a match was found on December 14. He also underwent a procedure to remove blood clots in his brain and had a device attached to assist his heart in circulating blood because it no longer functioned fully.

The two families met on March 2, when Mary got to listen to Reuland's heart beat once again.

Clues appeared such as Carew's wife being told the donor had been a very healthy local male and had been in his late 20s.

The Hall of Fame infielder was told in December - less than two days after Reuland's death - that he could get the heart and kidney he needed - something of a rarity for a 71-year-old. The two men's blood type was the same, but the key factor was both were immune from Hepatitis B. No one ahead of Carew on the transplant list was immune.

Mary lifted her head, nodded and said, “Ive got it memorized.”.

Carew put a smile on young Konrad's face that day.

Coronary illness has touched the Reulands, as well.

Carew started the Heart of 29 campaign - 29 was his jersey number during his standout career with the Minnesota Twins and Angels - to bring awareness to heart disease and help with prevention.

His mom, Mary Reuland, recalled how her then 11-year-old son was elated when he met the Minnesota Twins legend almost two decades ago. Carew was a patient at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, less than five miles away from where Reuland died. Since Konrad Reuland kicked the bucket at 29, the name conveys included importance.

Interestingly enough, Rod didn't know whose organs he received, since the donor's family has to request that information in order to set up a meeting.

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