Late NFL player Konrad Reuland donated his heart to Rod Carew

Getty Images

Former Ravens, Colts, Jets and 49ers tight end Konrad Reuland died on December 12 at the age of 29 as a result of a brain aneurysm. That week, baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew had a heart and kidney transplant. Those two stories hadn’t previously been connected, but the Ravens revealed today that Carew received Reuland’s organs.

Reuland’s mother, Mary, told the Ravens’ website that as her son lay dying in a hospital bed, she listened to his heart beat and thought she wanted her son’s heart to go to a good person.

“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.’”

Organ donations are typically kept anonymous, but news reports revealed that Carew had received a heart and a kidney from a 29-year-old man who was described as exceptionally healthy. The Reuland family had been told that the organs went to a 71-year-old man in Southern California. It was easy for Mary to connect the dots, and the donation company confirmed for her that it was Carew who had her son’s heart and kidney.

Carew and Mary Reuland met, and Carew said he’s going to take good care of his heart.

“I will take care of this one,” Carew said, “because I’ve been given a second chance.”