Former New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens tight end Konrad Reuland died of a brain aneurysm in December at the age of 29.
One of the organ donor’s kidneys went to a woman in her 60s, his liver to a man in his 50s, and his heart and other kidney to a 71-year-old man, according to the Mercury News.
That man is MLB Hall of Famer Rod Carew.
Reuland’s family didn’t know who his heart was given to at first, until friends drew the conclusion after hearing of Carew’s transplant and the families got in touch. Carew had been placed on a transplant list after a heart attack he suffered in 2015.
“I just thank him for saving my life and putting a roaring heart inside my body,” Carew said, according to the Mercury News. “We have a long way to go together.”
The families plan to work together on an American Heart Association campaign, “Heart of 29,” to raise awareness and prevention of heart disease. The number “29” stems from Carew’s baseball jersey number, but holds extra meaning as it is the age Reuland passed away at.
This miracle came 20 years after Carew’s daughter, Michelle, passed away at 18 after she couldn’t find a match for a blood marrow transplant she needed after suffering from leukemia.
Carew gets another chance after the donation of a now-30-year-old heart from a 6’6, 270-pound former Stanford and NFL football player.
On what would have been his 30th birthday, Carew visited Reuland’s gravesite with an autographed baseball. According to the Mercury News, it read, “Happy birthday, Konrad. I promise to always take care of your very priceless gifts.”