A Massachusetts teenager is crediting his Apple Watch with alerting him to a serious health problem.
Paul Houle Jr. recently told WCVB News in a videotaped interview (shown below) that the watch, which measures his heart rate, might have just saved his life.
The 17-year-old senior at Tabor Academy, in Marion, Massachusetts, said he first noticed something was wrong after a football practice on a particularly hot day earlier this month.
He said that after practice his heart was racing and he had pain in his chest and back when he took deep breaths.
“I could just feel my heart pounding,” Houle said in the interview. “And so after practice I went and took a nap and my heart was still at like 145 that I noticed on my Apple Watch.”
Later that evening he mentioned his elevated heart rate to the school’s head trainer, Brian Torres, according to an article on CapeCod.com.
“I didn’t think it was anything serious,” Houle told CapeCod.com. “When I saw the trainer I just mentioned it to him, not expecting him to do much about it.”
Torres, thinking the watch was likely malfunctioning, reportedly took the teen’s heart rate manually. It was still 145. A trip to the school nurse determined his blood pressure was also elevated so the teen was transported to a local emergency room.
Doctors there determined that his body was reacting to a muscle injury that was causing a protein to be released into his blood. That could have caused his liver, kidneys and heart to shut down, according to Houle.
Houle told CapeCod.com that if the monitor on his watch hadn’t alerted him to the problem he may have waited until the next day to say anything to anybody.
“At the hospital they told me that if I had gone to practice the next day that I would have lost all control of my muscles and there was a good chance I would have fallen down on the field and died right there,” he said. “I’m very grateful for that heart rate monitor.”
Houle’s dad, speaking to WCVB, said the incident made him a believer in the technology.
“I can remember when the Apple Watch was coming out and I said, ‘OK, there is no way I am ever buying one,’” he said. “I went out on Saturday and purchased an Apple Watch for my wife and for myself.”
Houle is still recovering. He is out of the hospital but can’t return to the gridiron just yet. He told WCVB he has an internship with Apple next summer.