When the Apple Watch was first debuting to great fanfare, we predicted the gadget would be a big deal. We thought it would be such a big deal, in fact, that we ran an article calling it the tech giant’s “most revolutionary product ever, with a potential for transforming lives that’s years ahead of its time.” The headline: “Will the Apple Watch Save Your Life?“
Now we know: It can.
Paul Houle Jr., a high school senior and football player at Tabor Academy in Massachusetts, is likely doing a lot better today because of the heart-rate monitor on his new Apple Watch. Houle, 17, was working out during his second of two practices on a hot day last week when his Apple Watch registered his heart rate at 145 beats per minute, reports Tech Times.
Houle didn’t think much of it (145 isn’t unusual for a tough afternoon workout) but when his heart rate stayed that high hours later, he thought his Apple Watch might have been malfunctioning. Houle mentioned it to his athletic trainer, Brian Torres, who manually read Houle’s heart rate—and then rushed him to the nurse’s office, and then (with the approval of Houle’s father) to Cape Cod Hospital.
The diagnosis: rhabdomyolysis, an ailment that sometimes hits hardcore athletes. “Rhabdo,” as it’s called, results when muscle tissue breaks down from overuse, releasing proteins that can be toxic to the body. If left untreated, it can cause permanent kidney damage.
And sure, “save your life” might be a little hyperbolic—but if it means getting medical attention before a potentially dangerous condition turns ugly? We’re all for it.