The same week that former Ravens tight end Konrad Reuland tragically died from a brain aneurysm at the young age of 29, baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew was reported as the recipient of a heart and kidney operation. Now, Reuland’s family has reported that the younger man’s organs gave Carew the gift of life.
The story broke on the Baltimore Ravens website in a story entitled, “The Heart of a Raven,” published on April 14. It related the never-before released story of the organ donation as told by Reuland’s mother, Mary.
Mary Reuland told the Ravens that when he was only 11 years old Konrad came home from school gushing about having met Rod Carew.
“‘You know I met Rod Carew!'” Mary remembers Konrad telling everyone who would listen. “That’s how it was the whole rest of the day. It was really kind of cute.”
Years later, of course, Konrad himself joined the ranks of pro-players by playing for several NFL teams. But by December he was gone, taken far too young by an unexpected cause.
The player’s mother noted that when she was in the hospital listening to her stricken son’s strong heart beating, she just couldn’t bear the thought that it might stop. The family was set to donate the player’s organs to those in need.
“I had laid my right ear on his heart all day and just listened to his heartbeat,” Mary said. “When we left him for the last time I said, ‘Whoever gets his heart better deserve his heart because it was a good one.'”
The Reuland family was not told directly who received their son’s vital organs (because such records are not released publicly), but they were told that a 71-year-old man in Southern California was the lucky recipient. But, the same week Konrad passed news broke that Carew received a heart and kidney from a 29-year-old donor, so it wasn’t too hard to connect the dots.
The family finally got the confirmation that Carew did, indeed, receive the organs.
Since his operation, Carew has vowed to take good care of his gifts.
“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.”
“We lost a wonderful man, so it had to go into a wonderful person,” Mary told Carew. “I couldn’t be happier that it went to such a wonderful man.”
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