Former Ravens tight end Konrad Reuland lay facedown on his bed last 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.
What happened next "dumbfounded" doctors, according to the Ravens team website: His brain was already damaged beyond repair, but oxygen returned to his organs, allowing them to survive. They could be donated.
Reuland, 29, who played four games and started one for the Ravens during the 2015 season, died Dec. 12. But a kidney went to a women in her 60s, his liver went to a man in his 50s, and his heart and other kidney went to a 71-year-old man in Southern California: Rod Carew.
The Baseball Hall of Famer suffered a heart attack in September 2015, and after a year of problems with a malfunctioning heart device, he was put on the transplant list last November. A month later, on Dec. 9, he was at the top of the list. Three days later, Reuland died, and Carew soon heard that he would be getting a new heart.
Carew was released from the hospital in February, and the Reulands, having found out the unlikely recipients of Konrad's donations, invited him and his family to their home last month. When Reuland's mother, Mary, saw Carew, she hugged him and said: "You're part of our family now."
"Forever," Carew said. "I will take care of this one because I've been given a second chance, and God knows how I feel and what I’m going to do for him."