After practice last week at Tabor Academy, senior Paul Houle, 17, began to feel pain in his back and chest.
“My Apple Watch, which I bought three days earlier, I tested my heart rate on it. It was about 145 for about two hours after the practice had ended,” he told the local CBS affiliate in Boston.
The high school trainer checked Houle’s heart rate and immediately took him to the emergency room, where Houle was diagnosed with rhabdomyolosis, a muscle injury that can lead to renal failure.
“I was so dehydrated that my muscles started to actually break down and release a protein that is sort of toxic into my blood stream which caused my heart, my liver and my kidneys all to shut down,” Houle said.
When muscle is damaged, a protein called myoglobin is released into the bloodstream. It is then filtered out of the body by the kidneys. Myoglobin breaks down into substances that can damage kidney cells.
Extreme muscle strain, such as football practice, can lead to rhabdomyolysis and become even more dangerous if there is more muscle mass to break down.
News of Houle’s incident made its way to Cupertino and lead to a surprise phone call from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who offered to Houle a new iPhone and an internship next summer at Apple.
Houle will miss the rest of the season, but he’s just thankful to be alive. His lesson learned from the potential tragedy?
“Drink lots of water and also listen to your body and seek help if something is wrong,” he said.
(Photo by WBZ-TV)