$1.99 iPhone App Saves Basketball Player’s Life

Picture of a basketballAn iPhone app called ‘Phone Aid’ has been credited with saving a teenage basketball player’s life after his heart stopped during practice. The 17-year-old, Xavier Jones, collapsed but was resuscitated by two of his coaches with CPR guided by the app. The $1.99 Phone Aid app guides users through emergency treatment for the most common situations requiring immediate medical attention. Maybe the snide comparisons of Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the messiah aren’t too far off. Job’s company and inventions resurrected someone right?

Okay, maybe not. (Sorry iPhone fan boys and girls, unless Jobs starts walking on water—iPhone 7GS perhaps?—I’m not buying it.) That doesn’t mean however that we can’t use this as a perfect example of how technology is making the world a safer and better place. While both of Jones’ coaches who saved his life have already been trained in CPR, head coach Eric Cooper purchased the app the night before the incident and had used it to refresh himself. He told the Los Angeles Times that thanks to the app, “it was really fresh and clear in my brain.” The app was also consulted while the coaches performed CPR.

Jones has since been diagnosed with “hypertrophic cardiomyopathy”—a condition in which the heart muscle thickens and hardens. Doctors are recommending that he have an operation to install a defibrillator implant and he may never be able to play basketball competitively ever again. While that’s a small price to pay for still being alive, it just underscores how prevalent technology has become. While we all goof off with apps and surf the web on our smart phones, scientists, doctors and engineers are hard at work on electronic devices that save lives.

Before you run off to buy the iOS app that “saves lives,” just remember the disclaimer the app comes with:

“Phone Aid® is not a substitute for a first aid CPR course, nor does it replace the need for calling medical services, but rather serves as a help starting first aid measures while waiting for them.”

Fair enough. Plenty of other CPR and emergency first aid guides are online through apps and the internet as well. With information comes power. When’s the last time you refreshed on CPR? Emergency first aid skills are important to have just in case the worst happens but they might become less relevant as our phones start becoming pocket guides that promise to teach us what we need to know only when we need to know it.

Will mobile devices eventually replace the need to actually know anything except how to use the right search function? Are we becoming too reliant on them? Let me know your opinion in the comments below.

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