The NFL has had many players lose their lives at such a young age, but Konrad Reuland is a special case. Reuland was an undrafted free agent in 2011 before he signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
The former Notre Dame and Stanford tight end had 27 catches for 354 yards in two seasons with the Cardinals. He still declared for the draft and ended up getting picked up by the 49ers.
After one season, the New York Jets picked him up off waivers for the 2012 season. From there, Reuland bounced around to the Indianapolis Colts twice and the Baltimore Ravens. He was also signed to several practice squads.
After playing in three preseason games with one catch in 2016 with the Colts, Reuland was released prior to the regular season and was forced into retirement due to injury.
So why is Konrad Reuland a notable name in the NFL? His story is linked to the injury that led to his retirement and eventual death.
On November 28th, just three months after being released by the Colts, he suffered a brain aneurysm.
A brain aneurysm is a disorder that weakens the cerebral artery/vein and causes it to balloon from a blood clot. It's a very lethal disorder and Reuland went into surgery the following day.
Two weeks later, Konrad Reuland passed away at the UCLA Medical Center. But as an organ donor, his story didn't end there.
MLB Hall of Fame first/second baseman Rodney Carew is known as one of the greatest contact hitters in Minnesota Twins history and the AL batting title was named after him.
In 2015, Carew suffered a massive heart attack and was forced to undergo several surgeries. In 2016, he was informed that he was in need of a heart transplant and was able to receive one later that year... thanks to Konrad Reuland.
Carew received the former NFL player's heart and kidney after he passed away. There was even a prior connection between Carew and Reuland, as the tight end attended the same middle school as Carew's children.
In 2018, Carew honored Konrad Reuland's life aboard the Donate Life float at the 2018 Rose Parade. It's not often that the MLB and NFL intertwine in the headlines, but this one is quite the story.
NFL players have a history with donating organs
Legendary Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton was one of the first huge advocates for encouraging people to become registered donors.
He had a rare autoimmune liver disease that was beyond treatment. He and his wife, Connie, started a foundation to help bring national attention to the matter.
Charles Tillman's young daughter once received a heart transplant. Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry died in a car crash in 2009 and his organs saved four separate people.
Tom Brady even became an advocate when his childhood mentor needed a kidney transplant.