Former New York Jets tight end Konrad Reuland made his mark after death, saving the life of a baseball legend.
In reporting on the NFL, we are often burdened by the criminal side of the league. Too often we are writing about the latest entry in the police blotter. Today, however, in talking about a former New York Jets tight end, we have the exact opposite. Here we have about as good of a feel good story as possible.
Konrad Reuland played tight end for the team back in 2012 and 2013. He was primarily a backup, posting 12 catches for 90 yards before moving on to Baltimore. However, his mark was not made on the football field. His lasting memory has been created off the field, even with him no longer being with us.
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Reuland passed away from a brain aneurysm this past December (via the New York Daily News). He was 29 years old. Reuland happened to be an organ donor, which is where fate took over.
Following a heart attack, Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew had been near death. For our young readers, Carew spent 19 years in the majors, for the Twins and the Angels, racking up over 3,000 hits. Four times in his career, Carew posted over 200 hits in a season. In short, he was a terrific hitter. Carew was well-deserving of his enshrinement in Cooperstown.
Well, Carew was at the top of the donor list. Due to Reuland’s immunity to Hepatitis-B, he was a perfect match for Carew. Carew received Reuland’s heart and one kidney. As told to Jamison Hensley of ESPN, Carew’s family was told that the organs were from an exceptionally healthy male in his late 20’s. The Reuland’s were told that the recipient was a 71-year-old man from Orange County.
Mrs. Rhonda Carew said probably the only words possible, per Hensley:
“We are so thankful, so grateful, so there aren’t adequate words,” Rhonda Carew told the Reulands.
This one hit home personally. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great humanitarian story. Reuland lost his life far earlier than he should have. There is no better way to cement your legacy than being able to save another person’s life, even in your death. The story in and of itself is simply beautiful.
I am a bit older than Reuland, but suffer from a similar condition due to an aneurysm. It nearly took my life three years ago. But thankfully, after several surgical procedures, I am stable and living as normal of a life as possible. To see that someone with a similar condition was able to save the life of another was inspirational to all, but especially to me. Maybe my life can mean something to another after what I have gone through as well.
Either way, it’s a great story, and there aren’t enough of them in today’s NFL. This is a story that everyone needed to hear. Best wishes to Rod Carew moving forward, and Konrad Reuland is certainly smiling upon us, wherever he may be.