Former Jets player who saved Rod Carew’s life was lifelong fan

All baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew wanted became a brand new coronary heart and a bit desire — what he didn’t recognize became that a young boy he met almost twenty years in the past would be only to provide it to him.

The fan kid turned into Konrad Reuland, a former Jets player and Ravens tight cease whose surprising demise from a brain life aneurysm stunned buddies and teammates last yr.

He changed into just eleven-years-antique when him and the Twins legend first crossed paths.

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“‘You recognize I met Rod Carew!’” Reuland’s mother, Mary, recalled him saying again and again after assembly the all-superstar infielder at college.

“That’s how it become the complete relaxation of the day,” she informed Baltimoreravens.Com in an interview posted Friday.

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“It changed into the virtually type of lovely.”The come across turned into a once-in-a-lifetime meeting that Reuland carried with him at some point of his career as a professional athlete, his mom stated.

However as destiny might have it, it wouldn’t be the closing time their lives could collide.

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On Dec. sixteen, simply 3 days after the 29-year-old exceeded away, the pair discovered themselves related another time — with Reuland being the subsequent in line to offer Carew the coronary heart he so desperately needed.

The primary poll Corridor of Famer and seven-time AL batting champ had been laid up inside the clinic for greater than 12 months, the use of an implant in his chest to hold his frame functioning efficiently as he recovered from lifestyles-threatening complications from a coronary heart assault.

The close-call got here on Sept. 20, 2015, and doctors had warned Carew that the quit could be close to ought to he now not gets a transplant.

After a month of waiting, the boy he met all the ones years ago might land up being the answer to his prayers — giving him the heart he wished, at the side of a brand new kidney.

“You’re a part of our family now,” Mary remembered telling Carew after assembly him in man or woman on March 2.

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“Forever,” Rod advised her. “I will deal with this one because I’ve been given a 2nd chance, and God is aware of how I feel and what I’m going to do for him.”

Mary went on to mention that she knew right away after assembly Carew that he could be the precise recipient for her son’s heart.“We misplaced an incredible guy, so it needed to cross into an outstanding individual,” she explained to Rod at the time. “I couldn’t be happier that it went to such an amazing man.”

Konrad’s demise came as an entire surprise remaining December — shaking not best his buddies and own family to their core, However his coaches and teammates, as properly.

“We misplaced a Raven today,” head coach John Harbaugh stated as he brought the news of his passing.

“I simply need to provide condolences to his family,” he delivered. “We love Konrad Reuland. Each unmarried guy inside the locker room loves him.”

In his two seasons with the Jets, Reuland performed in 26 games and had 12 catches for ninety yards and no touchdowns. He went directly to play four video games for the Ravens before touchdown with the Indianapolis Colts.

Even as Reuland did now not see any gambling time in 2016, he had been planning on making a return — and become even schooling in his homeland in Southern California just in case a crew wanted to pick him up.

The whole lot appeared ideal, notwithstanding the instances, and he even got to spend his first Thanksgiving together with his own family in nine years. However, The whole lot would change just two days later.

On Nov. 26, At the same time as running out in the gym, Reuland recalled listening to a click on in his head — which grew to become out to be an aneurysm.

“Our lives modified dramatically at that second,” Mary explained to the Ravens business enterprise.

For the following few days, Reuland laid in a health facility mattress, hoping for the best and staying constructive.
“Thank you FOR THE PEP Talk!” he wrote in a text to his mom after a go to, in all caps.

“I’M Approximately TO KICK THIS Issue’S BUTT, WITH THE Assist OF GOD,” the young man delivered. “HE HAD Something Massive IN Store FOR ME, AND This is Something With a view to Assist Take place WHAT It’s far…I will’T WAIT To see In which HIS WILL TAKES ME.”Later that week, Reuland’s organs failed and he started out to develop pneumonia and an infection in the lungs. His head quickly started to swell, and it wasn’t lengthy before his own family realized he wasn’t going to make it.

However, just like his will to need to return to the gridiron, Reuland wasn’t Approximately to exit without a combat.

After nearly an hour, his lung feature has been restored and oxygen had returned to his organs — making him a perfectly suitable donor.

“They came out and they have been simply dumbfounded,” Reuland’s father, Ralf, instructed the Ravens agency.

“That event allowed his organs to continue to exist,” he said.

simply as his former team in Baltimore become kicking off their Monday Night Football game towards the Patriots on Dec. 12, Reuland was pronounced dead amongst pals and circle of relatives.

Less than five miles away, Carew patiently waited — nonetheless hoping for a brand new heart and new rent on life. three days later, he got it.

“They located me a 29-12 months-vintage coronary heart,” Carew instructed Fox Sports at the time, remembering the call from doctors.

“[It was] bigger than the Hall of Fame,” he stated.

Before everything, Carew and his spouse Rhonda, alongside Reuland’s family, had no idea that the pair’s lives had over again crossed paths.

All he knew became the donor’s age — 29 — which turned into stunningly the precise identical quantity he wore during his playing profession. In truth, his American coronary heart Affiliation marketing campaign to get a transplant were dubbed “heart of 29.”“Do you suspect it’s Rod Carew?” Mary recalled people announcing to her, after placing all of the portions collectively.
news reviews had stated that the ballplayer received a coronary heart and kidney transplant from a 29-yr-antique male donor who died at the UCLA Medical Center. Reuland had died on the facility four days earlier.

“It becomes like this lightning bolt went through me,” his mom said. “Everyone was connecting the dots.”

Even as households of organ donors are usually supposed to wait a year earlier than contacting recipients, Reuland’s dad and mom wanted to understand for sure if their son changed into able to keep the lifestyles of the person he met so long in the past.

After calling the donation corporation, they were given their answer: their boy would be dwelling on thru the heart he donated to Carew.

The two households might wind up assembly in man or woman several months later, and quickly discovered they had been even more related than they notion.now not simplest did Reuland and Carew’s youngsters attend the identical faculty, the baseball star’s spouse informed Mary that he accompanied the younger man’s Sports activities career as he rose via the Soccer ranks.

So whilst it came time for the families to satisfy up on March 2, it becomes as if they’d regarded each different their complete lives.

They’d met up at Reuland’s discern’s house, and it didn’t take lengthy for all of us to get acquainted.

After a couple of minutes, Mary stated Carew with politeness requested her if she’d want to concentrate to her son’s heartbeat “To peer how beautiful it sounds.”

She and her husband had found out over time that anyone has their personal unique heartbeat — and after days of taking note of Reuland’s inside the hospital, They had it memorized.

with his palms wrapped tightly round Carew, and his eyes constant on his chest, the young man’s dad softly stated, “Welcome domestic, Konrad.”