Apple has been putting a significant focus on health-related topics in recent months, led by the Apple Watch's health and fitness sensors and associated app functionality. In fact, just a few weeks ago at its "Hey Siri" media event, the company showed off some Apple Watch apps that could help doctors keep track of patients and even read the heartbeat of a baby still in its mother's womb.

Now, the Apple Watch is becoming known as a lifesaver, as well, with a story emerging over the weekend about a teenage football player's abnormal after-practice heartrate and his Apple Watch's tracking that led him to determine something was seriously wrong.

watch heartrate lifesave
Paul Houle Jr., a 17-year-old Tabor Academy senior in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, discovered after practice one day that he had pain in his chest and back when taking deep breaths, along with a rapid heart rate.

“After practice I went and took a nap, my heart rate was still at 145.” He went to the hospital, where he learned he had heart, liver and kidney failure, which could have been fatal if not for his watch.

“If my Apple Watch hadn’t shown me it was 145, I would have done nothing about it.”

Houle was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a condition that occurs after intense exercise results in the leaking of enzymes and proteins into the blood from muscle cells. Some cases can lead to kidney failure and can be fatal and when Houle arrived at the hospital he was suffering from simultaneous heart, liver, and kidney failure.

Although initially a skeptic of the Apple Watch, Houle's father is now a convert and has recently purchased Apple Watches for both himself and his wife, thankful for the lifesaving intervention of Apple's product in his son's life.

Since Houle's story surfaced late last week, word of the ordeal reached Apple CEO Tim Cook, who contacted Houle with a personal phone call a few days after his diagnosis and recovery. "I got a phone call from a California number," said Houle. "And he said 'Hello, my name is Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.'" Cook proceeded to offer the Cape Cod teenager a brand-new iPhone and a summer internship at the company's corporate headquarters in Cupertino next year.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

dearfriendx Avatar
74 months ago
Have to admit, glad he had the watch and checked his HR. Cool example of useful tech.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sotiros57 Avatar
74 months ago
Amazing story! This is why I am such a huge fan of the company. I got an Apple Watch last week for a similar reason! I'm going in for open-heart surgery in the next week or so and this really helps keep my heart rate logged. I have palpitations due to an arrhythmia problem and a 7cm aneurysm, so it's a big deal. Thankfully, I can send all of this information to my team of surgeons. I couldn't imagine not having this now! I know it sounds cheesy and tacky, but...

Thanks, Apple!
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kajje Avatar
74 months ago
In most cases, I would be somehow skeptic about 50-odd year old guys calling my teen children and offering free iPhones.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rdlink Avatar
74 months ago
amazing story.. and awesome of tim cook. stories like these make me think an apple watch might be worth it, but I am going to wait out until the next gen comes around.
If you live that long... :p
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Corrode Avatar
74 months ago
Cue a wave of teenagers trying to have near-death experiences in order to land internships at Apple.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iKrivetko Avatar
74 months ago
I don't want to sound like an utter berk, but how does this case qualify him for an internship?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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