Rod Carew's transplanted heart donated from ex-Ravens TE Konrad Reuland

Getty Images

Getty Images

Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew underwent heart and kidney transplants in December, receiving the organ donations from a former Baltimore Ravens tight end.

Former Ravens tight end Konrad Reuland lay facedown on his bed past year, his head swelling after an aneurysm that would prove fatal, when doctors turned him on his back so that family members could say goodbye.

On the day that he died, Coach Harbaugh had the undesirable job to break the news to his team.

According to the AHA's posting, Reuland was enrolled at St. John's Episcopal School in Rancho Santa Margarita from the sixth through eighth grades, at a time that Carew's two children also attended, which is how the they met when Reuland was 11.

"He gets in the vehicle, big eyes and everything - he's about 11, maybe 12, and he's saying, "Mom, mommy, I met Rod Carew today!"

Even if you're barely a baseball fan you know the name.

Late a year ago, Carew appeared on the verge of giving up hope - until he was informed that a new heart and kidney were waiting for him. He also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts.

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 Reulands were told the recipient was a 71-year-old man from Orange County who was treated at Cedars-Sinai.

The Reulands each took a stethoscope and listened to Konrad's heart in Carew's chest, the heart association said. "You are a part of our family, and you will be invited to family functions whether you want to come or not".

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Last fall, Reuland was on a treadmill when he experienced a severe headache. That was the emergence of the aneurysm, a ballooning of an artery in his brain.

"Everybody was connecting the dots", Mary said. Her final words to the representative of the organ procurement network were, “Make sure his heart goes to a really good person because Konrad was a really good person.”. According to the Mercury News, it read, "Happy birthday, Konrad".

She told the American Heart Association that at first it was "too farfetched" that Reuland would be the donor.

Carew, now 71, had been using a mechanical device to pump blood following a massive heart attack in September 2015. He put in a year with a left ventricular help gadget in his trunk taking care of the work of his harmed heart. "When we left him for the last time I said, 'Whoever gets his heart better deserve his heart because it was a good one'".

He went on the transplant waiting list the Friday before Thanksgiving and moved higher a few weeks later. Hospital officials needed to find a match.

The Ravens said Konrad's other kidney went to a 60-something woman in California and a man in his 50s received his liver.

But her son was brain-dead at 29.

Both families need to urge more individuals to wind up organ contributors.

They began a joint investigation and uncovered details that led them to conclude Carew and Reuland were connected through the organ donation.

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