Rod Carew saved by heart from NFL player

Baseball Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Twins player Rod Carew speaks to fans about his recent heart attack in Minneapolis. At right in a Sept. 3 2015 file

Rod Carew received his heart and kidney transplant from former National Football League player Konrad Reuland.

A backup for the large majority of his playing career, Reuland will not be remembered for his playing days, but what he gave to Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew.

The Reuland family eventually called the donation company, even though it was recommended they wait a year before making contact with the recipient, according to the AMA.

"I will take care of this one", the famed first baseman said, "because I've been given a second chance, and God knows how I feel and what I'm going to do for him". Using a stethoscope to eavesdrop on a miracle, she listened hard as Carew took deep and purposeful breaths. He was 29. Over the final hours Mary spent with her oldest child, she kept her right ear on his chest.

"I showed the lady my pass, and she told me I was on standby, and I wasn't on standby, so I moved to the side and watched my plane; I watched the people board my plane", Briscoe said.

Her face turned crimson and, reflexively, she wrapped her arms around Carew's neck. "And I think your husband may have my son's heart and kidney".

She finally told her husband when he got out of a rehab facility in January.

Both families want to encourage more people to become organ donors. The program's name came from Carew's jersey number.

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Reuland had been a fan of baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew and met Carew as an 11-year-old.

He suffered a heart attack and had two blood clots in his brain, so when Konrad sadly passed away on December 12, 2016, Rod's life-saving transplant surgery was conducted four days later.

Reuland died on December 12 from complications of a brain aneurysm he suffered in November and was out of professional football at the time, having bounced around the league for five seasons as a tight end.

Nearly immediately, Carew's friends questioned his family if the two organs were from Reuland.

Before Reuland, who played three seasons for the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens, died doctors took his heart, kidneys and liver.

The only details the Carews received prior to the transplant were that the donor was “male, late 20s, local, exceptionally healthy.” They later learned his exact age: 29.

"We are so thankful, so grateful, so there aren't adequate words", Rhonda Carew told the Reulands. "They found me a 29-year-old heart", he joked to Fox Sports in January 2017.

The Reulands, meanwhile, could only be told a 71-year-old man from Orange County was the recipient of Konrad's organs, and that he was treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Along the way he earned a reputation for being great with kids, including one wide-eyed boy named Konrad Reuland.

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