11 days shy of his 70th birthday, Hall of Famer Rod Carew suffered a massive heart attack while golfing in California on September 20. After undergoing a six-hour open heart surgery, the 18-time All-Star had a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) installed. He’s now hoping for a heart transplant.
Carew told his story in an excellent piece from Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated. Below is just a part of it, but I promise you it’s worth taking a few minutes to read it all.
Carew is sitting in an easy chair. Minx, a black Bombay cat, is perched above his right shoulder. Both exude a quiet grace—they look equally feline in repose—and there’s a brief silence in the house as Carew considers that a kind of mechanical heart has been implanted in his chest, alongside his damaged one. After a moment, the most elegant hitter of his generation puts his face in his hands and sobs.
“I was dead,” he says, “and they brought me back to life.”
Earlier this month, Carew became the fastest patient ever to be released from LVAD rehab at Scripps Memorial Hospital. He’s now focused on becoming healthy enough to qualify for the transplant list, but he also wants to use his situation to inspire others who may require LVAD surgery or transplantation. As for his future, Carew has goals of attending spring training in March and the Hall of Fame induction next July.
We’re all rooting for you, Mr. Carew.