How man's Apple Watch saved his life after being knocked out while biking

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

If it weren’t for a crisis feature being activated on Bob Burdett’s smart watch, he might not have lived to speak of how he knocked himself out while mountain biking.

Mr Burdett set off through Riverside State Park in Washington last Sunday (local time) to meet his son, Gabe, but never made it to their planned meeting spot.

He flipped his bike at the bottom of a hill named Doomsday and hit his head hard enough to knock himself completely out.

But that was when the “hard-fall detection” function on his Apple Watch sprung into action – it alerted Gabe and emergency services.

Mr Burdett's Apple Watch was smashed in the fall, but it might have saved his life. Source: Facebook/Gabe Burdett

“The watch had called 911 with his location and [emergency medical services] had him scooped up and [took him] to the hospital in under a half hour,” Gabe wrote in a post to Facebook.

Fire department officers also collected his bike and took it to the station.

Instead of spending hours trying to track his dad’s location, Gabe knew exactly where to go.

“I get a text from dad's Apple Watch letting me know it ‘detected a Hard Fall’ with a map to his location. It was not far from our meeting spot,” he wrote.

Gabe said while he drove straight there, his dad had already been collected by an ambulance, with the watch sending an update with his location at a hospital.

Mr Burdett shown in hospital after falling from his mountain bike and injuring his head. Source: Facebook/Gabe Burdett

“My brother was already driving by the hospital when the second update came in and was able to be with him right away,” he said.

The quick reaction of emergency crews after being alerted to Mr Burdett’s fall could have been the difference between life and death.

Gabe said since the accident, despite being “a little sore for sure”, his dad was “doing great”, and had returned clear x-rays and a CT scan.

He urged other Apple Watch users to set up their “hard fall detection”, given how fast it was able to get help to his dad – even with him biking through a remote area.

“Amazing technology and so glad he had it,” Gabe said.

A message sent to Gabe alerted him that his dad had taken a "hard fall". Source: Facebook/Gabe Burdett

Photos shared with the post showed a smashed up Apple Watch and Mr Burdett with a cut on the side of his face and a swollen eye.

Gabe also shared one of the messages he received from the watch, which said he had been contacted because he was listed as one of his dad’s emergency contacts.

“Emergency SOS Bob Burdett called emergency services from this approximate location after Apple Watch detected a hard fall,” one message read.

It also included a graphic of the map with a pin indicating where Mr Burdett was.

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