“I had pain in my chest and my back whenever I took some deep breaths”, Houle said, just as his Apple Watch alerted him to something serious.
Houle said he mentioned this to the team’s trainer, who brought him to the school health center.
Houle didn’t have to press down on his wrist the old-fashioned way to figure out his heart was going at 145 beats per minute two hours after practice ended though.
“I could just feel my heart pounding, so after practice I went and took a nap, my heart rate was still at 145”, Houle said.
“When I got there, they first tested me for a blood clot which they thought was in my leg and had traveled to my lung, but then they diagnosed me with rhabdomyolysis“, Houle told the Cape Cod Times.
This, however, is not an anecdote to view the Apple Watch, or any consumer device with a heart rate sensor, as a replacement for an actual medical instrument or professional diagnosis. But Houle believed that he wouldn’t do anything either if it hadn’t been for the information provided by the smart watch. It occurs when the muscle tissue breakdowns and releases protein into the bloodstream. In some extreme cases, this causes the damaged muscle to die, which would lead to amputation.
He would have chalked it up to a hot day on the gridiron. “I’m grateful to the school because the trainers and the nurses, everybody really just jumped on it”, his dad, Dr. Paul Houle, told CBS Boston.
Cook offered Houle the new iPhone and an internship next summer at Apple.
And what makes this story even more fascinating – he got a surprise phone call from Apple CEO Tim Cook. The Apple Watch was indeed instrumental in keeping the teen aware of his condition.
While Houle said he’s “happy to be alive”, he also has something else to be pleased about, despite having to miss some of the Tabor Academy football season in recovery.