Rod Carew saved by heart from NFL player

However, Rhonda, Carew's wife, and Reuland's mom Mary were able to determine that the former player in the National Football League who died at 29 gave a gift of live to the Hall of Famer who is 71.

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

Nearly 20 years later, in September 2015, Carew suffered a near-fatal heart attack while golfing. Reuland was an organ donor and it turned out that his anonymous donation went to an anonymous recipient, who happened to be Carew.

Carew is considered one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball, as the owner of a.328 career average, 3,053 hits, seven batting titles and 18 All-Star Game selections while playing for the Minnesota Twins and California Angels. "I've been given a second chance so I'm going to take advantage of it, and I've got another family". She said she signed up to be a donor, so he chose to do so, too.

“Thank you, ” Carew said. Believe it or not, the heart that is now keeping Carew alive once belonged to a fellow former professional athlete.

The American Heart Association said Reuland's family and Carew met last month. Using one of his stethoscopes, he, Mary and their youngest son Austin each heard Konrads heart thumping inside Rods chest.

Both families want to encourage more people to become organ donors and plan to work together on Carew's "Heart of 29" campaign which he started a year ago in partnership with the American Heart Association. He put in a year with a left ventricular help gadget in his trunk taking care of the work of his harmed heart. It represents not only Carew's jersey number, but Reuland's age when he passed away.

That's the story of Konrad Reuland and Rod Carew, a tale of one professional athlete - who saw his life end way, way too soon - miraculously saving the life of another.

Last April, Konrad Reuland was renewing his driver's license in his parents' home.

'This is Mary Reuland, ' she said, leaving a voicemail after dialing up Carew's wife, Rhonda.

When the families met in person for the first time, in a visit coordinated by the AHA on March 2, one of the first things Mary did was lean her head against Carew's chest.

Reuland, an organ donor, was a match with Carew due in large part to his immunity to Hepatitis B. As a result, Carew received Reuland's heart and a kidney. By Dec. 9, he was moved to a higher priority on the list and had Reuland's heart a week later.

The only details the Carew family received before the transplant were that the donor was "male, late 20s, local, exceptionally healthy". The 71-year old called the meeting unbelievable. Carew also had a kidney transplant.

  • Loretta Pittman