Ex-Jets TE Konrad Reuland gave gift in death to Rod Carew

  • Ex-Jets TE Konrad Reuland gave gift in death to Rod Carew

Ex-Jets TE Konrad Reuland gave gift in death to Rod Carew

Reuland died December 12 at the age of 29 after suffering a brain aneurysm and his heart went to Carew, who was at the top of the donor list after dealing with life-threatening complications from a heart attack he initially sustained more than a year earlier.

The families, who had children at the same school back when Carew had the chance encounter with Konrad Reuland, have become fast friends. The Hall of Famer at the time was in desperate need of a heart. You know, he's a pro athlete. "And the rest of the day that's all he talked about was meeting Rod Carew", says Mary Reuland.

The Heart Association stressed that there was no one in front of Carew on the heart transplant list.

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

Reuland played for the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens.

On one side was a "male, late 20s, local, exceptionally healthy".

The Reulands were told the recipient was a 71-year-old man from Orange County.

Carew was released from the hospital in February, and the Reulands, having found out the unlikely recipients of Konrad's donations, invited him and his family to their home last month. "You are a part of our family, and you will be invited to family functions whether you want to come or not". He had suffered a brain aneurysm, and a few days later, the artery in his brain had burst. He underwent surgery, but never woke from a coma and his brain activity stopped a few weeks later. On Dec. 12, he died, but Mary spent those final moments of her son's life with her head on his chest, listening to the sounds it made. Her last words to the agent of the organ obtainment system were, "Ensure his heart goes to a better than average individual on the grounds that Konrad was an okay individual".

Upon learning Konrad's heart might've gone to Carew, Mary could hardly breathe.

Carew suffered a major heart attack on a golf course on September 20, 2015. The following fall, he learned his brain was bleeding due to the blood thinners he was taking as a result of the left ventricular assist device (LVAD) inserted in his chest to help his heart. A month later, on December 9, he was at the top of the list. Carew's transplant surgery was conducted four days later.

They didn't know it at the time, but he had, in fact, received the heart of 29-year-old Konrad.

The majority of the time people receiving organ transplants do not know who the donor was.

Experts estimate in Maryland alone, 3800 people are waiting for a transplant.

The Carews initially had no information about the donor other than the man's age.

"I'm going to ask mom to listen to his heart and tell me how attractive it sounds", Rod said.

According to the Ravens, Reuland's second kidney went to a 60-year-old woman.